Law Office of Nancy C. Harrison   599 Atlantic Boulevard, Suite 6, Atlantic Beach, Florida

Law Office of Nancy C. Harrison   (904) 372-0008

Time-sharing in the State of Florida is the amount of overnights each parent has with the child(ren).

Both parents and their children have the legal right to spend time with each other and these rights are not conditioned upon the payment of support by either par ent. It is the public policy of this state that each minor child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents. The court is required to consider the best interest of the children when deciding all matters relating to time-sharing and parental responsibility.

The following suggestions are made to help you and your child(ren) in this time of mental and emotional stress:

1. Think first of your child(ren)'s present and future emotional and mental well-being before acting. This will be difficult because of your own feelings, needs and emotions, but try - - try - - try.

2. Maintain your own composure and emotional balance as much as possible, the ending of a relationship with your spouse or significant other it is not the end of the world. Laugh when you can and try to keep a sense of humor. What your children see in your attitude is, to some measure, reflected in theirs.

3. Allow yourself and your child(ren) time for readjustment. Convalescence from an emotional operation, such as a dissolution of marriage, is essential.

4. Remember the best parts of your marriage. Share them with your children and use them constructively.

5. Assure your child(ren) that th_eyare not to blame for the break up and that they are not being rejected or abandoned. Child(ren), especially the young ones, often mistakenly  feel they have done something wrong and believe that the problems in the family are the result of their own misdeeds. Small children may feel that some action or secret wish of theirs has caused the trouble between their parents. Explain to them that there are other children whose parents have been divorced and that they are not going to lose their mom or dad.

6. Continuing anger or bitterness toward your former partner can injure your child(ren) far more than the dissolution itself. The feelings you show are more important than the words you use.

7. Refrain from voicing criticisms of the other parent. It is difficult, but absolutely necessary. For a child ' s healthy development, it is important for him or her to respect both parents.

8. Do not force or encourage your children to take sides. To do so encourages frustration, guilt and resentment .

9. Try not to upset the children' s routine too abruptly. Children need a sense of continuity and it is disturbing to them if they must cope with too many changes all at once.

10. Dissolution of a marriage, often leads to financial pressures on both parents. When there is a financial crisis, the parents' first impulse may be to keep the children from realizing it. Often, they would rather make sacrifices themselves than ask them to do so. The atmosphere is healthier when there is frankness and when the children are expected to help. However, never blame a financial hardship on the other parent in front of the children.

For The Parent Seeking To Maintain The Current Time-Sharing Schedule

A. If you already reside with the child, then the burden will not be quite as heavy, but you still will be required to show the kind of care, custody and attention you have and are giving to your children.

B. Prepare a detailed list of logical, factual and provable reasons why there should not be a change in time-sharing. Make an orderly itemization of all reasons why it is more beneficial for the children to remain where they presently reside and include in this list factual reasons why the other parent should not be granted a change in  time-sharing. After preparing this list, check and re-check it to ascertain if, in fact, you are providing, on a daily basis, the advantages you claim - IF NOT, DO SO! Next, add to the bottom of this list the names, addresses and telephone numbers of all witnesses who can and will testify (can and will is important) to these facts. Doing this is the most important as far as the Court is concerned. It has to be seen and noticed by others and they have to be willing to come to Court and testify as to the good care, love, supervision, discipline, and devotion of time provided by you for the children.

C. Make a list of the playmates and close fellow classmates, together with their ages, who play or have played with or have close association and ties with the children and include all the school, social and church activities and organizations the children participate in and the frequency of these activities. Be prepared to show the disruption which would occur in the life of the children should there be a change to the child's living situation.

D. Take photographs of the home where the children live, their play area (yard), the living quarters (inside and out), the neighborhood in general, the parks in the  area, the school, etc. Be prepared to show and prove that these surroundings are beneficial for the children.

E. Obtain a copy of the children' s health record from the attending physician and have this medical expert testify as to the health care the children receive, if necessary.

F. Have, maintain and how an open healthy attitude toward time-sharing with the other parent. The children need the love of both parents and your own attitude in this respect is important to the children and will be noted and given some weight by the Court.

G. In addition, your own emotional and physical health is an important factor, which will be considered by the Court. It is, therefore, most important for you to be composed and in full control at all times and to be able to prove your maturity, responsibility, and control.

H. Discipline is also very important. Saying "yes" all the time would be just as wrong as saying "no" consistently. So long as you are consistent, reasonable and fair, discipline at the right time for the right reason is not only necessary, but also vital.

What about your needs?

These also have to be considered. The Court will recognize that as a human being you too have needs. It is how you fill these needs that is important. In short, do not ever forget that your first duty and responsibility should be to adequately provide for the children's security, safety, and the necessities of life. However, as an adult , you should be capable of and are required to intelligently make sure that your own needs are fulfilled. You are able to be a better parent when you are also enjoying life and are not hostile at or frustrated with the world and life in general.
For The Parent Seeking Additional Time-Sharing

A. Exercise your time-sharing rights to the maximum. See, visit, and really get to know your children . Study the real needs of your children and really listen to what they have to say and equally important, what they are not saying. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO BECOME A PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR . DO NOT TALK DISPARAGINGLY OR BELITTLE YOUR SPOUSE . Enjoy the time you spend with the children and allow them to enjoy you.

B. Start and keep a diary of events in order to remember and be able to point out dates, witnesses, facts, etc., when necessary.

C. Study and learn (not only study but actually learn from your studies) how to be a better  parent. Begin by selecting, from the bookstore or library, one or two  books on  child care, child raising and parenthood . You can subscribe to Parent's Magazine or other specialized publicat ions . Read all you can on the  subject of children, children's development  and how to be a good parent. If a class or study course in this general area becomes available, attend it. We can provide you with examples of good books on these general.

D. Work up a plan as to how you would provide care, love, guidance and meet the needs of your children. Example: Where the children would live, their daily routine, who would care  for them when not in school and when you are not physically present; educational and religious plans; work out a parenting plan with the other parent (be liberal in your thinking and planning); develop a workable, reasonable and logical daily routine for the care of your children and if possible, point out how your plan, care and attention to the needs of the children is BETTER than the existing one and how it will be BETTER and MORE BENEFICIAL for the children in the future.

E. Work up a list of relatives, close friends and neighbors who will actively assist you in providing for the needs of the children. Enlist these people and establish and nourish a meaningful relationship with these individuals, the children and yourself.  This must be a real thing. The children know who is and is not interested in them. REMEMBER, it is the children's welfare that is at stake and the name of the game is what's in the best interest of the children.

F. Make sure the physical facilities of your home are completely adequate for the children. Try to step outside yourself and view the situation from a neutral vantag.e point. Look at it with a critical eye to be able to realize where improvements and changes are needed and make them. A clean and well organized home is necessary. The children must have adequate shelter, food and around the clock care, attention, love, supervision and discipline.

G. Develop common interests with your children. Become a part of and share and enjoy their world with them. Do not forget their birthdays, Christmas and other special occasions which mean so much to children. It is not just gifts, but it is also giving of yourself and your home. Be a real parent and be interested in their school work, outside school activities,  their sports, clubs, organizations, friends and their plans for the future.

H. Learn about the schools your children are or will be attending. Know and familiarize yourself with bus services and other transportation, etc. Having a general knowledge of t his important area of your children's development will be necessary in proving your case.  In addit ion, go to Parent Teacher Conferences, open houses and get involving in your child(ren)'s education. You need to know who the teachers are at the school(s).

I. Obtain as many friends, neighbors, bosses, fellow employees and church members who would be willing to testify in Court as to your character, behavior patterns, reputation, responsibility and fitness as a parent . You will need to discuss this frankly with each of these people. Give us their names, addresses and telephone numbers and a brief statement as to what they are able and willing to testify to in the actual trial of your case.

J. You need to honestly prepare a statement of constructive criticism of the other parent. Be fair, accurate and put down facts and circumstances that can be proven or on which proof should be obtained. This is a list of why a change in time -sharing is necessary. This should be detailed and should be in a legible form .

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Law Office of Nancy Harrison
599 Atlantic Boulevard, Suite 6
Atlantic Beach, Florida 32233
Phone: (904) 372-0008
Email: Click Here To Email Us

Law Office of Nancy C. Harrison, Esq., P.L.
599 Atlantic Boulevard, Suite 6
Atlantic Beach, Florida 32233
Phone: (904) 372-0008

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