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Cathy Meyer

Changes To Florida Child Custody Law

By August 3, 2008

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Revisions to the laws concerning Florida Child Custody and other family law matters will become effective October 1, 2008.

The new law will do away with the "tender years doctrine" which most feel is the reason fathers are awarded custody less often than mothers. You know, the presumption that the mother is the better caregiver so regardless of how active a father is in the life of his child custody automatically goes to the mother.

I've done research and haven't been able to find out in-depth information about the new law. I do know that there will no longer be a "primary residential parent" and a "secondary residential parent." They are also doing away with the terms "custodial" and "non-custodial" parent. The mother and father will both be known through the courts as the "parent."

What they are attempting to do by changing terminology that is used to identify a parent is unclear to me. I was told by an attorney friend that the old terms minimalized the role of the non-custodial parent...made that parent seem less important in the child's life.

Another term done away with is "visitation." The terms "parenting plan" or "time sharing' will now be used. Again, this is an attempt by the courts to make sure that both parents play a larger or more equal role in a child's life.

I'm sorry but, in my opinion how important a role you have in your child's life has little to do with terminology in a final divorce decree. I don't want to dismiss the pain fathers go through when the family they love is torn apart by divorce and the time they spend with their children is dictated by a final divorce decree. I can't imagine the level of frustration and emotional pain that would cause.

I know from personal experience and from years of communicating with divorced parents that no matter what you are called by the courts, if you don't work at building and maintaining a relationship with your child changing the words used by the courts isn't going to amount to a hill of beans.

I hope that I'm wrong and a few new descriptive words will be the answer that fathers are looking for. Maybe this new law will level out the playing field and give them just as much right to custody and parenting their child as the mother. In the meantime, call your child every day, don't miss a scheduled visitation, make their needs your priority and never put your interest above theirs. If you do that, it won't matter what term is used to describe you by a family court.

Comments
August 3, 2008 at 8:23 pm
(1) Liz says:

The “Tender Years Doctrine” was actually abolished in Florida in 1982. As a non custodial mother , I found that out the hard way. I’m not an unfit mother, I just didn’t have the aid of an attorney to help me make my case. My ex did, and he was awarded custody. As the “secondary” parent, I have problems obtaining school records. My child’s teacher told me that they only send them to the “Primary” parent. I’m hoping that this new law will make it easier for me to keep up with my child’s educational progress, but I’m afraid that changing the name isn’t going to change the attitude.
I do agree that in the end, it’s up to the non-custodial parent to maintain a close, loving relationship with their child. Hopefully this new law will facilitate that.

August 3, 2008 at 8:40 pm
(2) Cathy says:

Liz, I’ve never heard of a school that would not provide information for both parents. Is your name on your children’s registration forms as their mother? Did your ex specifically ask the school to not release information to you?

The thought that a parent who shows interest can’t obtain information from her/his child’s school is bothersome. It makes me wonder if this is a state wide attitude toward the “secondary” parent or is it a district attitude.

I always make sure the school knows that my ex is to be given any information he requests regarding our children. He hasn’t seen them in 4 years and shows no interest but, if he ever does I want him to be able to find out what he wants to know.

Cathy

August 4, 2008 at 12:12 pm
(3) Peter Hill says:

As Barak Obama said, Words do matter. Changing the terminology that fathers are not visitors but parents is just one step in the ladder to changing our arcane custody laws. If we want kids to be raised by both their mom and dad, as they should be, post separation and divorce, changing how we address them is important. Just like calling African Americans this has a much different connotation than the perjurative words that used to be said. Words do matter.

August 4, 2008 at 12:50 pm
(4) Todd says:

As long as such words as “non-custodial parent” and “visitation” are applied in child custody matters, there will always be an element of human nature on the part of judges, court investigators, and legislators which will dictate their actions as they apply or create laws. Removing such words will not fix the problem, but it will certainly remove one of the roadblocks faced by “non-custodial parents”, particularly when the former spouse does everything she can to place impediments in path to effectively parent in separate households. This is certainly an encouraging first step, but falls far short of a solution.

August 7, 2008 at 7:39 pm
(5) Joel O. says:

Yes it does matter changing those words. I Am verry happy to see that finally the law is begining to see that there are some mothers that like to belittle and bully the father by saying that they are the primary custodial parent and that their house is the primary residence. Visitation? Well my daughter has a room of her own full of all of her stuff, so she is not visiting, she leves with me and her mom. Am living that right now and my daughter lives with me every other week not weekend. This law change came just in time as Am in the middle of a custodial battle where the mother has gone as far as giving false accusations towards me and the court just dismissed it. Am so exited with this law change as my finnal hearing will be heard after October 1st wich means that it will apply to me.

August 8, 2008 at 4:17 pm
(6) silvina says:

Florida cannot even get child support issues resolved, or foster care system laws or any laws pertaining to the childs best interest and now they want to change custodial laws. Why don’t the law makers get their heads out of the sand instead of trying to change things and add to more confusion which never help the people who need it anyway.

August 12, 2008 at 11:16 am
(7) Jackie says:

Kudos for our governor!!! I am thrilled about the change; I am a divorced woman with two wonderful children and have maintained a healthy relationship with my ex. for the purpose of our childrens mental, emotional and physical well being. I have never liked the wording in our divorce decree, how can a court use words as custody, visitation, primary residential paren? No court should have a right to make one parent feel less connected! That is what these words do, my husband has been divorced for 8yrs and his ex constantly blocks him having access to effective parenting regarding his daughter. We have paid more for attorney fees and called the police more times than I can count to assist in picking up his daughter for his visitation. How sad, so the next time you make the irresponsible comment that these are only words; maybe its you who should be on the receiving end of the assault of residential parent. Schools and the courts take these words and automatically assume something was wrong with secondary parent it causes bias. Are you a secondary person, was it not two consenting adults creating these children? or was there a secondary person? There are to many vengeful and manipulative women out there who use those evil words to interfere with dads just wanting to be able to love and nurture their children. Shame on your response and it makes me wonder why your ex has not seen his children in 4yrs? Shall i assume you may suffer from PAS?

August 13, 2008 at 7:05 pm
(8) Tanya says:

Jackie, your statement was spot on! These are so much more than words. When one parent abuses this power over the other (secondary or non residential custodial parent)then the child loses. This has nothing to do with calling your child everyday, but everything to do with being ALLOWED to make desisions and being ALLOWED to participate fully in your childs life. Although this seems like a great win for fathers, as they have been on the wrong side of the Tender Years Law generally. I feel for any parent who lost the coin toss when a judge had to designate one as residential. Most importantly this really is a win for our children and for parents to be equal!

August 24, 2008 at 4:20 pm
(9) Janet says:

The changes to the wording is to try and stop the parents fighting over titles and get them to focus on their children’s best interest which is to have the parents cooperate and make the plans themselves. High conflict parents will most likely not be able to accomplish this therefore court appointed psychologists (formerly known as custody evaluators) will be appointed to recommend a parenting plan and division of parenting time to the judge. One area of concern for me is how this is going to effect victims of domestic violence.

August 24, 2008 at 11:21 pm
(10) Donavan says:

I Don’t have a clue what the new law will do. My ex wife is turning terrible. When we split it was supposed to be visit your daughter any time, I know your a good dad and will help raise her well.I was a fool and thought that was it. As soon as about a year went by I heard the words “read your divorce papers.”.And I became the secondary parent. Now my ex and her whole family tell my 6 year old that I dont have any sayso.Quote from the grandpa,”thats right you dont have any say my daghter will make all the decissions with out you.” I ask my little girl If she wants to go somewhere and do something nice and she says I have to ask my Mommy. I need to stop now But I Have one statement to close on .I DIDNT DIVORCE MY DAUGHTER. I will soon be selling the last thing I own free and clear,A truck, in order to pay for legal help. and I pray that this law helps . thanks for reading.

August 25, 2008 at 5:36 pm
(11) Jeremy says:

Able and willing fathers who want to be in the childrens life are chased out of the country most the time.I can easily raise my kids more than 50% of the time and make a big difference in their life as a dad which I never had.But as I mature and grow I understand why my dad high tailed away from me.He couldnt afford child support and keep a roof over his head.The courts would rather see a man pay child support and go broke ,work three jobs to live in a shack,when he is able and willing to parent his kids half the time.Iam behind in child support,I work over 80hrs a week I struggle to live but I see my kids 2 to 3 times a week.

August 26, 2008 at 11:31 am
(12) Jamie says:

Having a relationship with your child is easier said than done. As the “secondary residential parent” my daughters father gives me no nformation regarding her life and he refuses visitations on a regular basis. I live 800 miles away, and have since before the divorce, he is in the military and moves all of the time. He could afford a better attorney and thats how he got custody of our (at the time) 3year old daughter. I am not unfit in fact I have full custody of my son from another relationship. Developing a relationship is hard when you aren’t even allowed to speak to your child or see her on regular basis and when you are scheduled to do so. The Courts are so concerned with “keeping a child in Florida” than acting in the child’s best interest. He has moved three times with her and no one seems to care. How do you, as a secondary parent, get a say in your child’s life when your ex thinks he is the only parent?

August 27, 2008 at 11:31 pm
(13) lisa says:

I have to say… being a parent and reading all of these diff. situations, it is extremely scary! I myself am a mom of 4… my 2 kids from my first marraige, i never recvd child support. i could have fought and been the bitch that others would have been assumed me to be, but i believed the kids needed their dad… thank god i did believe that, as he was killed 5 yrs ago… just after he spent the entire summer vacation with them. now, i my 2 youngest, we have been split for almost 2 yrs. he contributes 400.00 a month. this i am greatful for… but, he sees them once a week. this is his decision. I am not only pissed that he only wants one full day, but the amount that he pays to support… is not as much as he believes it is support. i choose not to take him to court. not fair to my kids… what bothers me is he really believes he is financially and emotionally supporting them to the fullest. i sometimes think i am crazy… LOL!

September 4, 2008 at 5:55 am
(14) Charlie says:

Words mean everything. Try living under the yoke of “secondary” and “non-custodial,” being told by your child’s school you need a permission slip signed by your vindictive ex. Equal parenting makes horse sense. It is least inhumane, most compassionate, toward the child in the wake of a walkaway wife or husband. As a practical matter, women may only have equal rights at work to the extent men have equal rights to parent. It’s physics. One condition needs the other to be met before the other may be fully realized.

September 10, 2008 at 8:38 pm
(15) sherry says:

I have found that Shared Parental Responsibility has been very difficult. My ex husband is very difficult. He will argue just to disagree. Simple things like soccer practice has become a constant battle. The ex signed up our son for soccer practices that conflict with my schedule and fall on my day. If I have a problem…I have to take him to court. Simply put. If two parents do not agree, someone has got to be able to make a decision. This will not end any confusion..I think it only makes things worse. Too many chiefs and not enough indians!

September 12, 2008 at 3:42 pm
(16) Natasha says:

The new law was just brought to my attention today when I visited my lawyer to discuss getting custody of my almost 3 year old daughter. My soon to be ex-husband only wants her when its convenit to him and by the second day of visitation he is ready for me to come and pick her up. I do agree with the new law coming to light but if the other parent is not taking his/her responsibilites to help with the upbringing and support of the child , how is it fair to the parent that is providing and the sole caretaker of the child? I wish the lawmakers would be more concerned with helping the mothers with “Dead Beat Dads” rather than give them more rights than they deserve.

September 12, 2008 at 5:42 pm
(17) Kat says:

Regarding the term changes. I could see that it might add some confusion for schools. Which house the child(ren) primarily reside in should be well defined IMO. The other terms well it’s not like people won’t still use (or not use)them outside of court depending on his/her place in the situation.

Natasha-
If he is being inconsistent with his visitations that is grounds for having them changed. I know in my divorce and my current husband’s divorce (we both have primary custody of all the children) our exs lack of consistency was a huge issue to the judges and caused restrictions to be placed on them. Heck my husband’s ex is required to call 24 hrs ahead every week just to confirm that she will be exercising her visitation (and she well below standard visitations).

September 17, 2008 at 12:59 pm
(18) James says:

Being divorced for 6 years, I fought from the beginning to be a 50% partner with my ex-wife. Being that her family came from money, it was easier for her to belittle and abuse me, so I basically had to give in or go broke. Since 2002, I have had to endure so much scrutiny and many financial problems in paying her that I have had nothing but regrets for not fighting hard enough. When I heard this law passed, I knew that my time had come. She is being summonsed this week and I will let you know if I get my 50%. I seriously have not had a home since my kids left. No place Ive stayed has been close to a home. This will at least be fair and even the playing field.

September 18, 2008 at 12:11 pm
(19) Marcia says:

I just heard about this from my lawyer today and I had to look it up for more information. I was in the process of taking my ex back to court to get visitation worked out. As the PRIMARY custody parent he has literally tortured me with that title over the years. I spend just as much if not more time with our son as he does. It’s horrible having to explain it to nosy people. Yes they should stay out of my business but it is how people are. Why aren’t you the primary, they ask. Even after I explain that I spend just as much time with him I still feel like less of a mom. Now we get to sit down and work out a visitation calendar that I think will benefit everyone in the long run.

Love the new law.

September 18, 2008 at 1:08 pm
(20) Jeremy says:

Bottom line is if you are a divorced male with children ,you have no rights what so ever,your labaled a dead beat dad.To the moms imagine being told you can only see your child 4 times a month,What kind of relationship will you have with them?90% of woman want full custody because of the child support.IF YOU REALLY CARED ABOUT YOUR CHILD YOU WOULD INCOURAGE JOINT CUSTODY FOR YOUR CHILDS WELL BEING.

September 18, 2008 at 1:13 pm
(21) JEREMY says:

The main reason why parents want full custody of their kids is because they new they had an income called child support.(Besides the dead beats) if the child support law was pulled I guarantee you parents would be up to joint custody and sharing their children with each other.Its all about the money!!

September 19, 2008 at 11:14 pm
(22) Pete Wilson says:

I tell you what Cathy – call the Florida Department of Revenue sometime and identify yourself as the non-custodial parent. You will find the bias from that point on to be beyond belief.

Also, it is about time Florida recognized that both parents matter to the children. I am thrilled about any attempt to get away from one parent doing the bulk of the child rearing. Look around – the custodial system a huge failure.

Plus – if the starting point of a divorce proceeding is fairness to both parents, the need for lawyers should be diminished, something that would be even better. They need to be removed from the divorce equation.

September 23, 2008 at 10:21 pm
(23) Tom says:

Hello, I was wondering why each time I try to print any “About” pages, they never fit on the paper. Even if I go to your “print” page. And it isn’t just my home printer but the same thing happens at the library’s printer.

September 24, 2008 at 7:59 pm
(24) TheMom says:

This law is good if you have a Parent that will take advantage of this for the benefit of the child/children involved but it’s sad when it’s used for the benefit of hurting the other parent and getting away with murder. As of today I am the custodial Parent but just because the Father was the one that enrolled my Daughter in her school it has been even then very difficult to be treated as a Parent and instead as an outsider. I tried to change my Daughter’s address because Father’s home is being foreclosed and he does’nt even live there and the school said they cant because he will have to disenroll her. I don’t have any problems with both parents having the same rights but please be responsible and always remember what you do and say to the children, hurt them more than anyone else.

September 25, 2008 at 6:02 am
(25) joseph says:

i have more of a question than a comment. i just had twin daughters and im not married,do i have the same rights as far as custody as i would if we were married? im still thier father and love them more than anything and would do anything for them.

September 27, 2008 at 1:15 am
(26) David says:

Does anyone know what the new law will do for the father? Will they get closer to 50/50 ?

September 29, 2008 at 11:33 pm
(27) adolph says:

i have a 6 yr old daughter who has medical problems.i hope this will help fathers considering im a non-custodial parent. i only get to see her when she needs a babysitter or she is in the hospital. the mother is all about the money my daughter is a pay check to her.i think people(moms & dads) alike should not have custody when they are like this!!!!!!!!!! I feel lke im just a sperm donor! we need laws to protect the fathers from the babymams!

October 1, 2008 at 5:04 pm
(28) curious says:

Does the law apply to current orders that have already been in place? Or does this apply to those who are getting a divorce after Oct 1, 2008? What would be the point in changing a parenting plan that is already working for the children? just to get to 50/50?

October 2, 2008 at 5:34 pm
(29) Sophia says:

Question: How will the new law affect the modification process? Under the new law, will the primary residential parent be allowed to modifiy an existing order, so everything will be 50/50? -and a fam law mediator will revise a time-sharing or parenting plan??? What about child support? Will each parent pay his or her creditors individually (daycare, summer camp, health insurance)…ect? instead of writing a check to one parent. Will the gross substantial method of calculating child support be used only if one parent makes substantially more income than the other. Kudos to our Govenor…no more labeling…know only if same sex couples could marry or even Adopt, that would be even better.

October 3, 2008 at 9:40 pm
(30) wascurious2 says:

I saw a mock up of the parenting plan today; it is about 27 pages long, includes a calendar, questions pertaining to communication between the parents, child care providers,transportation cost, holidays,significant days, dependency exemptions, medical providers, out-of-pocket related expenses for the child(ren), child support ect… The Statue applys to divorces, modifications & paternity cases. This includes out interstate cases too…
(Summer months) It does not elimate child support unless both parties make the same amount of income and/or agree, but it Does give Fathers more say in what is going on in their childs life ect…There is no need for high cost attorneys, custody cases never go infront of a judge unless the state finds abuse, neglect, abandonment ect… or a guardian ad litem is assigned to the case. I anticipate more paralegals, private family law mediators and lots of modifications.

October 7, 2008 at 9:54 am
(31) G8RFan says:

Does this mean that “secondary residential parents” can have their child’s ‘custody’ and ‘visitation schedule’ re-visited or does the original MSA still apply?

October 7, 2008 at 10:01 am
(32) G8RFan says:

Where can I find a copy of the new laws????

October 7, 2008 at 2:03 pm
(33) Daisy says:

My husband is going to court for partial custody. His daughter’s mother is a pothead, gets kicked out of her residence (usually a bedroom) every 6-7 months, has never provided her daughter her own room since she was born, doesn’t want to earn her GED & get a better job, and all she cares about is more child support. My husband already pays $340 a month,and has his daughter 15 days of the month. She can’t make it on her own. In the court’s eyes, does this make her a fit mother. Would anyone leave their child with a babysitter that was just as irresponsible? So why leave the child with a parent who is “primary” and irresponsible?

October 8, 2008 at 6:19 am
(34) Linda says:

This new law is fine and dandy for “True” fathers whom really care for their children. I know they exist out there….some…not many! However, for those “Absent Fathers” whom all of a sudden want to be “Daddy of the Year”….that just infuriates me!!!!!!!!!!!! This “time sharing” just angers me to say the least!!!!! Especially when the children are the ones that are suffering!!!!!!!!!!! Number one, it is not a toy we are sharing and number two I think there should be one parent to be custodial, as that may have been the case for years….yes…one parent involved in everything, while the other parent was there, but absent!!! My case!!!! I am sure it is the case of many others! And unfortunately, my children do NOT care much for their father as he never was there for them…money wise about was about it, but it was just a show off…now..nothing…..he gets every weekend visits, but is not paying any child support. He is paying the mortgage because he does not want to lose the home as he thinks he will one day be back in the home to live with another woman. Will not happen! In the meantime wants full parenting rights, while not providing for the children’s needs. Air conditioner down, refused to pay for repair, although children informed their father how miserable it was without it. Power to be shut off a few times, did not care. Then I am supposed to share my children with this “supposed father”?????? I think the Judges need to open their eyes better and see the situations for what they are (individually), not just a stack of cases!!!!!! . We are just a case number to them and that is it!!!! This new law is ridiculous and the lawmakers need to look into enforcing child support rather than changing names of laws…… I am sorry for the “few” good fathers that are out there…..because I know “they do exist”..but as I said….just a few….too few for the true mothers to have to put up with this new injustice!!!

October 9, 2008 at 1:27 pm
(35) Liz says:

This new law was quoted by a judge during a temporary custody hearing on October 1st. Using it, he allowed my soon-to-be-ex to have temporary custody of our daughter and gave me 1 day a week and every other weekend. Never mind that the “ex” left us when our child was just under two years old, has NEVER paid a single bit of child support, has NEVER wanted to be active in her life at all, saw her maybe 2 or 3 times a year for a few hours at a time, etc, etc. In other words, was a textbook dead-beat dad who simply fathered a child and then wanted nothing else to do with her. The past week has been terrible — our daughter simply doesn’t understand why she has to live with her dad — who is a stranger to her — and he has no clue how to care for her, about her school requirements, her schedule, her likes,dislikes, and so forth. The judge even said during the hearing that the “old” law favored the mothers too much …but to grant even temporary custody to a man who is a “father” only due to biology and in no other conceivable way, is ridiculous. My “ex” was more shocked than anyone — and not in a pleasant way — the ruling certainly not expected. When I asked my attorney about it, he said the judge could do whatever he wanted simply because he is the judge. I see this as a gross misuse of a judge’s authority. There is nothing fair about this new law, it only serves to hurt children who are caught in the middle and can’t speak for themselves.

October 10, 2008 at 6:58 pm
(36) Kat says:

Why does everyone assume the father never gets custody? What about dead beat moms who sit on bachelor’s degrees and pay child support based on working part-time at minimum wage?

October 17, 2008 at 6:32 pm
(37) Sami says:

I LOVE the new LAW. My Ex husband has primary custodial parent,and
he throws it in my face, I get no school forms,no medical information,I get nothing. He does not follow what is stated in our paperwork, the only he quotes he is her CUSTODIAL PARENT. His family has money he is spoiled,so he got a good attorney,when he does not get his way,takes me back to court, this is my THIRD time,who is he really hurting our Daughter. He cares about getting child support,some people use child support as a pay out, instead of the money going to their children. Like Barak Obama said on Father’s Day June 2008,anyone can make a baby but it takes a MAN to be a FATHER. Not every Father is a DEAD BEAT DAD, there are FATHERS who care about their children, who want a relationship with their children and who pay child support. We have some Fathers who are DEAD BEAT DADS and we have some Mothers who are DEAD BEAT Mothers but not ALL. My Ex is verry vindicative and what he does not realize is our Daughter is getting older. Parents think about how your children is going to treat you, when realize how you treated their Mother or Father,open your eyes it is not about you, it is about the CHILDREN.

October 17, 2008 at 11:47 pm
(38) Sami says:

Does this new law affect old cases that has already been ordered by a judge or mediation?

October 20, 2008 at 1:20 am
(39) Grant says:

I am concerned with all of these readings that i have read seeing that i have a case hearing comming up the 23 of october. I am a single father of five, who tried to work out things out of court and regretably signed divorce papers without seeking legal council. Will i get what i’m asking for i’m woundering? all i (and the boys for that matter) want is to spend equal time with each parent. i can relate to most everyone in here on every level seeing that my case has been civil and digressed to conflicting. Although i have bitterness inside, and anger and frustration if i win my case for modification of custody i would never keep my boys from their mother. (no matter how much i want to inside, or how much she has used them against me.) i think that the fights and things come from both sides on most occasions. i determined that she can fight me on petty stuff out of court, call me what she may, or accuse me of anything she wants to make me feel like a unfit father or whatever. All that matters to me in the long run is what my five boys think when they get to the age to determine who i really am. I have found out through experience words hold little of anything in a court of law. its what you do with your anger to make your case worse. yes they matter and hurt, but we as “real” fathers and mothers will do more to help our children to see how to deal and handle with conflict if we don’t get over emotional and upset with whatever is being said about us. my ex has tried to have my L’s suspended and me put in jail for being behind in child support but that gives me no right to treat her with anything but respect considering she IS and always will be my Boys mother. i can not help being behind and if she can’t understand the reasons for that i can’t help her with the understanding or being resonable with me on issues such as these. i have won all my cases thus far on a defensive basis this will be the first offensive case hearing i will have to determine anything to modify for the kids in what i think is in Their favor. I’ll let everyone know how it goes.

A Concerned Father.

October 21, 2008 at 12:49 am
(40) Christina Sigler says:

I am another mother who was unable to get records from my child’s elementary school in Jupiter Fl (Palm Beach County). I moved to TN from FL and had an order that I could not relocate to TN with the child but I had been emotionally and financially destroyed many times over by the x and needed family assistance. I had to leave the child in Fl with the x. This makes me sound like a failure of a mom, and I feel like one, but I am a victim of violence and severe emotional/psychological battering from x misusing courts for 9 years now. I am a medical professional and have worked with pediatrics 9 years and directing over 50-80 nurses for 7 years now. I am a professional educated person of sound mind and often complimented on being so calm. So I would call the Florida elementary school and they would be short, sometimes condescending. I would ask for records and get a report card. I questioned this and was told that is all there is. My x left my son here in TN after this 2008 summer visitation with me after demanding money above child support and refusing to do any driving as he had previosuly promised. He threatened court if I would not give more money saying he would have a custody battle and he has all these witnesses lined up. Now child is in 4th grade in TN and his new school here gets these outrageous psychological evaluations from the FL school that I never knew existed. These people (FL)would not allow me to have parent/ teacher conference by phone and the one in person I had the counselor was short, rude and condescending. Often wouldn’t return my calls or refused to answer my questions with a sincere answer. If I did talk to anyone and they told him the x would go into a rage and deny me time on the phone with our little son. He would deny visits, make visits difficult. I didn’t understand why until I read this report that fraudulantly accuses me of detachment, neglect, psychological problems, says I didn’t want our child, accuses me of abuse/neglect and x gave a false family/medical history to make his stories/lies sound credible. If I call the school they won’t give me the time of day. I am having trouble getting medical records from my son’s pediatrician and couselor in FL as well.

October 30, 2008 at 10:25 am
(41) cinda says:

Changing the words may help but it is little consolation to parents going through divorce. Most issues with the children never go away until they are grown and you hope that they are able to have some objectivity with both parents. I think the core problem is that in Florida the courts are designed to foster more support for the women. I have seen fathers taken advantage of, and probably the worst thing is women who have babies solely for an income stream. I am a single parent and the father is too sick too work so child support is not even remotely possible unless he can qualify for some sort of assistance. Luckly we have a friendly situation unlike many people. I have seen women who leave their kids and are capable of supporting them but refuse to get any kind of work. Women holding children hostage because they don’t get their money…makes you believe that they don’t care about how important the connection with their father may be. And yes…lots of dead beat dads there too. I am a very hard critic of women who use every evil thing they can to mess with the father at the detriment to their children. I have to work hard to keep a roof over our heads and balance time to spend time with her. She sees her Dad and it’s very difficult for her to see him ill like he is. I believe that when things get ugly and war is declared in these situations that the overriding factor in all of this is not what is good for the kids but what is good for the parent that does everything they can to make things hard and are not willing to be rational.

Many people who work in the child support system automatically assume the woman has primary care of the children and refuse to open their mind to the fact that in today’s world that women walk out on the family too. Until you change the way most people in the government system think the system will always be biased against the Father.

November 4, 2008 at 2:22 pm
(42) BP says:

I think that all of the discussion about violent/deadbeat dads/moms is irrelevant to this discussion. Whatever protections there were or were not before are still in place. Under the new system a spouse beater would go from being the “secondary parent” with supervised visitation to a “parent” with supervised parenting time. The only significant thing in the new law related to these issues is dealing with false allegations. If’s an unfortunate necessity when you have powerful laws to protect that can also be used for tactical advantage.

When it comes to schools, this should make it easier for the “other” parent to get information and such. It will take some time and education for the schools to get used to it and there will be people with the old agreements in the system for the next 20 years.

From what I’ve read, the new law is going forward only. If you’ve got a custody order, the only way you are going to replace it with a “parenting plan” is to show that something has significantly change. The same process and hurdles you would have had if you were trying to reverse custody under the old guidelines.

What this law should do is minimize the presumption of custody and level the playing field for Fathers to be significant parents to their children (as opposed to secondary parents or visitors). The only thing to argue about is how much time each parent gets. Of course, if the parents don’t agree, it’s off to court, as usual, but given the intent of the changes there’s no reason to assume that it will go to the “unreasonable” party or the default parent (Mother).

Detailed parenting plans could help a lot. My brother and his ex have disagreements that could have been cleared up with a detailed plan. She frequently uses her “primary” label as justification for being the “decider”. This leads to resentment and real hurt. He has guardedly complained that he feels like a checkbook with the right to visit his ex-wife’s kids.

It would be nice to see plans that look forward in time. When my brother and his wife split up, he had no real complaint that their child spent more time with her Mother. Now that she is older and more time is appropriate, he’s having a hard time getting mommy to let go and give him more parenting time. There’s also a financial incentive to not allow the extra time (which people freely project on men). He also lives in constant fear that his ex will move away with their child. Because his visitation was set to be appropriate for an infant and his ex seldom grants more time that the letter of the custody agreement, he knows that he’d have a difficult time stopping a move. It seems like these things could have been solved when they divorced IF they both were treated like equals.

November 4, 2008 at 7:01 pm
(43) Jeff says:

These new laws probably would have saved me a lot of time, money and grief if they were in place when my ex-wife and I divorced.

My idea of divorced parenting was shared custody and hers was “Old School”. She’d get everything, I’d pay for everything, and I could visit the kids twice a month. She wouldn’t share and I couldn’t be a father under her plan, so we fought it out.

She made some mistakes and I worked hard, paid a bunch of money, and got lucky, and “won” custody of our children. When it became clear that she was going to loose, she wanted to accept my original offer and thought it was a great idea. Funny how the world looks different from the other side of the looking glass.

I’m an easy touch when it comes to extra visiting time. I don’t think I’ve ever said no (although I do say yes, but take them to their dentist appointment on the way ;-) ). I’d gladly change to something more like 50/50, but I need to be sure that it’s not just laying the ground work to implementing her old plan.

On the subject of schools, even though I’m the primary custodial parent, as a man, I get a bit of ‘tude from the females at school, or at least I did originally. I found that attending the meet your teacher type events helped a lot as did scheduling meetings with the individual teachers. It’s a lot harder to be a jerk to someone face to face. My ex originally scheduled her own report card conferences, but this year, we went together. The teachers did’s seem to care one way or the other, they are just happy for the parental involvement.

I bought a scanner/printer/FAX/hair dryer machine and programed a button to scan and email documents for mom. It pretty much stopped the valid complaints about being informed.

November 4, 2008 at 9:46 pm
(44) elizabeth says:

It saddens me to hear that fathers are tha only ones who feel violated by the family court system. What about the children?????
WORDS MEAN EVERYTHING! Whenever somebody hears that I (WAS) a secondary (INSULTING) parent all they could ask was “What on earth did you do to your child?” Never am Itreated fairly by doctors or educators and getting records is almost impossible! Finall…. I am an equeal parent… now it’s time for my child to bennifit with time sharing!

November 10, 2008 at 12:45 am
(45) mike says:

i hope this is true becuse i have had my little girl for the past 8 years and the courts just allowed a woman to take custdy of my little girl over a lie that she told she is dead in everyones eyes around but i will leave it up to the courts in a few weeks to deside but thank you fot the litt bit of hope

November 12, 2008 at 11:58 pm
(46) Karen says:

I so agree. My husband’s ex has manuvered evrything to create a negative situation and it isn’t going to matter what they call it because they can’t change her creating parental alienation.No matter what that was her plan – keep them that 1 extra day so she got more $ and lie to the point they hate him. That is the problem control freaks can’t be controlled thru the system, and they favor the mother no matter what.

November 13, 2008 at 12:11 am
(47) Karen says:

I feel the frustration from so many people who have been hurt in the system where certain people are allowed to play head games with their children to get back at someone…to destroy the relationship and create such a hostile school, medical, living environment. It is so true that the non-custodial parent is alienated, particularlly with the control freak custodial parent – eventually it destroys the parent-child relationship if left unchecked. I used to think it would get better as the children got older. But now they are robots and think just as Sam does. I worry about what type adults they will even be.

November 13, 2008 at 9:47 am
(48) Jeff says:

I have a somewhat unique perspective in that I am a man with primary custody of the children and there is nothing wrong with their mother (drugs, booze, sanity). From my little perch, I can call BS on a lot of the typical justifications that are used to prefer mothers in custody situations. People pick and choose what they think is in the child’s best interest to justify their position. It’s simple human nature. The best way to tell is to reverse the situation.

My ex thought it was OK to move away with the kids. She said it wouldn’t diminish my role as a father, the kids would have a better life because she’d make more money, she need to be closer to family for emotional support to assist her aging parents, etc… the usual justifications for moving. Funny thing, now that I’m the primary custodian, she’s not interested in moving away, doesn’t seem concerned about getting a higher paying job (now that it means that she will have to pay me more if she does), and I guess her parents can just tough it out. She says she couldn’t live that far from the kids (but I was suppose to???).

Now, I realize that people will have to move. People loose their jobs and can’t find suitable work, have to go home to take care of aging parents, etc… probably hundreds of valid reasons. This is also just one example, near and dear to my hear because my ex moved with the kids and I had to fight to get them back.

Making men as likely to get custody will not make things better if the way it happens is if women lose. There will be mothers like the lady who posted above that feel alienated or unjustly treated by the system. I just don’t see how treating a child’s parent unfairly is truly in the childs best interest.

What needs to happen is that both parents are recognized and treated as equals. I really think that we need to have presumptive 50/50 physical custody. When deciding that 50/50 is not a good idea (and it won’t be for a lot cases), the decision criteria needs to be truly in the child’s (not in mom’s interest hiding behind the child) interest AND fair to both parents.

November 23, 2008 at 9:51 am
(49) Bob says:

Has it been analyzed, figured out or decided if this new Law legally applies to divorce petitions filed before October 1, 2008. If anyone has some ideas or thoughts about this, You are welcome to respond or let me know. Bob

November 26, 2008 at 11:03 am
(50) Angela says:

I found this information on the internet but see no answers to the questions of where we can find a copy of the law and will it apply to the modification process.

Thank you!

January 3, 2009 at 9:14 am
(51) Lee says:

Can someone please tell me if one party is making 45,000 and the other is at 31,000 will the 45 have to pay the 31 any child support!!

January 3, 2009 at 9:26 am
(52) Lee says:

Let me make the question a little better, with the new laws and if the judge does award 50-50 to the couple getting a divorce with one parent making $45,000 and the other $31,000 since child support is not being paid now on alot of these and now the parents split medical, school supplies etc., in this case would the 45 have to pay the 31 child support!!

January 5, 2009 at 3:16 pm
(53) Calculus says:

Lee,

Florida calculates child support based on both parents NET income, determining a child’s “need”, with each parent contributing to the “need” based on a ratio of their incomes. In shared custody, a ratio of time spent with each parent is also a factor.

In round numbers, your incomes are about a 60/40 split. 45+31 = 76 45/76=.59

For one kid lets assume that your “need” would be about $1000, with the noncustodial parent paying $600 and the custodial parent “paying” herself $400. That estimate is probably a bit high, but the math is easy. There are online child support calculators that can get the exact amount for you. Do the calculation without medical costs and divy them up after all of the math is done.

For shared custody, the formula is

Parent1 share x 1.5 x %of Parent 2′s overnights – Parent2 Share x1.5*%of parent 1′s overnights (don’t include medical costs). In your case, it would be 600×1.5x.5-400×1.5x.5 = $150.

So do the traditional visitation plan and you’d pay $600 and share 50/50 and pay $150.

Medical costs and daycare are separate, so if you paid $150 a month for the child’s portion of health care, no money would have to exchange hands.

January 5, 2009 at 6:49 pm
(54) larry says:

I see this law as good and bad. i agree non custodial parents should have more rights. However i also see this law as an easy way for deadbeat dads to beat child support.
for instance.

guy and girl are dating, she gets pregnant, he moves 200 miles away he sees the baby at the birth, then not for 4 more months(under advice from his attorney)
has helped mother in no way withj medical bills or formula, etc in all that time. before paternity was established he wanted the test he tried to tell her he was coming to take the baby from her house for a visit with his family.( before paternity established him as father)
also over the past years he has custody of 2 other children he worked 200 miles away from them and saw them maybe days a month while they were his sole responsibility. he had his father take care of the kids. a mand who has had 4 strokes and 1 heartattack in the last few years. he has stated in the past the only reason i fought for custody of my kids was so i would not have to pay child support she would have to pay me and he is not supporting his kids) hoiwever under the new law he could get rotating custody, so a 5 month old baby will be shuffled 200 miles each week to spend all her time with someone who is not medically fit to take care of her. or he will just say im not picking her up and under this rule he wont be ordered to pay support either. plus what happens in years when this child is school age go to school one week in wpb and one week in tampa. laws should be used to determine best interests of child not wishes of parents

January 6, 2009 at 12:15 pm
(55) Calculus says:

Larry,

I don’t think the recent changes to the law do what you think. It requires a detailed parenting plan that BOTH parents agree to (not necessarily 50/50 custody). The plan is supposed to cover all aspects of the child’s life, so in your example, it would have to address how living 200 miles apart would be dealt with. If they are smart (it doesn’t sound like it), they would address how the plan would change as the child grows up.

If the parents can’t come to agreement, there are a bunch of factors that are to be considered in determining the time sharing arrangements of the parenting plan. One of the new criteria that relates to your example is how much outside assistance the parent requires. It’s not clear to me that needing a family member to make child rearing work would be a bad thing, or that someone who used professional child care would be less favorable than someone who used a grand parent, or that a parent who doesn’t/can’t/won’t work would be preferable to a parent who worked and used a family member or daycare.

People like to rail against the stereotypical deadbeat dad, and when it comes to shared custody, avoidance of child support is an accusation that people seem very comfortable making. People seem unconcerned about mothers who refuse to share custody even though it means that they will typically get less money. Both sides can be cynically dismissed as purely financial maneuvers.

Under the new laws, just like the old ones, if you don’t abide by the terms of the divorce agreement, you can be held in contempt of court, or the agreement can be changed. So if someone agrees to 50/50 parenting plan to avoid paying child support (which only means $0 child support if both parents incomes are the same), and then doesn’t live up to the agreement, then it’s back to court with a revised parenting plan, and an adjusted child support to go with the new parenting plan.

What the changes should do is put Mothers and Fathers on an even playing field. By eliminating words like custody, it should keep one parent from using the “primary” custodian title to negatively impact their child’s other parent.

Time will tell when it comes to results, but in words, the new law makes both parents equal, so it should stop the automatic preference of mothers over fathers when it comes to custody issues. Some of the criteria still seems to favor women, but I guess Rome wasn’t built in a day.

January 8, 2009 at 6:24 am
(56) Lee says:

I sorry it is hard for me to understand that analytical math problem and not to sound dumb, but could someone put it it laymans terms for me “will the person making $45,000 have to pay the person making $31,000 the $600 a month plus the $150 or just the $600 or nothing at all.

Sorry I’m dazed and confused!!

January 8, 2009 at 12:49 pm
(57) Calculus says:

Lee,

The $45,000 parent would owe the $31,000 parent $600 a month if the $45,000 parent had the child less than 30% of the overnights.

If the $45,000 parent has the child 50% of the overnights, then the $45,000 parent would owe the $31,000 parent $150 per month.

If the $45,000 parent has the child somewhere between 30% and 50% of the overnights, then it would be more than $150 and less than $600.

Keep in mind that this is an estimate. It will vary from state to state (does your state address reduced child support for time spent with the other parent). To be closer to correct, you need to use one of the online child support calculators and enter the NET incomes (not the gross). It might be $400 or it might be $800.

The main point is that only way there will be no child support is if both parents share the child equally (# of overnights), and they make the same amount of money. The whole point behind child support is an attempt to ensure that the home environment for the child is as best as it can be and approximately equal at both parents homes.

Work out an overnight plan that works for everyone, and let the child support work itself out.

Make sure that your plan covers what is covered by the support and what is not and how what isn’t covered is divided. Are doctor Co-pays, braces, eye glasses, hospital, summer camps, fees for joining a soccer team, Prom dress/suit? Some of these this should be covered in a $600 payment, but in shared custody ($150 payment) should be split 50/50 or based on income (in your case 60/40).

January 18, 2009 at 3:42 am
(58) Mary says:

If the divorce was filed last march and will not be finalized until after october 1st, this March do I go off the new laws that started Oct 1st or the old law!!

January 21, 2009 at 9:17 am
(59) Jim says:

The simple fact is that as a society, we don’t value fathers. I understand that women may feel that their fathers, or perhaps men in general, have failed them in some way, but don’t know why they don’t feel responsible for the world that their sons will live in. Maybe changing the labels we attach to fathers will help change our society, but I wouldn’t expect it to happen soon. It took Lincoln and MLK to create a society where Barack Obama could become president, fathers have protesters in superman suits and Alec Baldwin…

January 26, 2009 at 8:39 pm
(60) Frank says:

These judges need to make up their mind for divorces filed before October 1 some judges are going off of the old laws and some off of the new laws. WHAT CAN BE DONE IF ANYTHING PLEASE HELP IF YOU KNOW! OF COURSE I WANT THE NEW LAWS BUT WHAT AM I TO DO IF MY JUDGE WANTS TO GO OFF THE OLD LAWS!! A CO-WORKER FILED LAST MAY AND HIS JUDGE IS GOING OFF THE NEW LAWS!

January 28, 2009 at 5:02 pm
(61) kimkow says:

I have an ex that has been arrested more times than I can remember…he has assaulted me many times and I have pressed charges each time. He has stood in front of our child and called me every name in the book just because I asked for half of a dental copay…he is an alcoholic and is now living with a felon..he is trying to get our child half time…tell me where that makes sense or how that is what is best for our child??? He is an abusive, angry, sick person and the courts want to give him more time just because he donated some sperm??? He has never once gone to a school function or sport function of our child and has NEVER called on my child’s birthday or Christmas…really great job Florida. Thank you for protecting my child.

February 12, 2009 at 7:21 pm
(62) MR says:

I agree, the system cares more about mothers that fathers, I have a case pending in court and the judge wants to go back to the old agreement when she is the one with a TPO, i care too much for my son that I decided to take the law on my own hands and take my case off the lawyers that charge too much, do too little and basically take advantage of you, there are ways to fight, but for fathers is rather hard, due to the fact that our society sees fathers as sperm donors, and child support payers. with this new law I am hoping to get 50/50 just because the mother did not really care whether i spent time with my son or not, she just care about the check she got every 15 days, now I have temp custody of my son and I care for him more that she ever did, but the old law will return my child to the mother… now tell if that is right???… equal rights equal time, no matter what, thank you florida.

February 16, 2009 at 11:38 am
(63) Rebecca says:

It’s not just about mothers, there are many male judges out there who do not like women.

I am a mother who went and is still going through a nasty divorce for over four years. I do not have the money to pay for an attorney and to continue to battle in court, yet my ex does not pay for his attorney. Thus, he was awarded “primary” a year ago and we have “shared parental responsibility.” He unitarily withdrew our children from the school they had been going to since kindergarten and took them out of the community and environment they were used to since birth. The judge did and still continues to do NOTHING about this. My ex has not reimbursed me one penny since we separated for his court ordered medical expenses for our children and the court does NOTHING. I purchased a cell phone so I am able to talk to my children daily and he throws it away saying they lost it. My children cry and ask me why I don’t call and care about them. He signs them up for activities, without telling me and does not put my name as their mother on the registration info and uses his girlfriend as emergency contact, as well as the school records. During the summer, he signs them up for camp and will not tell me where they are and tells our children not to tell me. My child told me and she was grounded for a month without food because she told me. I even have a letter signed by ex to the camp saying that I am not allowed to be on their property or ever pick them up my own children. The judge is aware of all this and still does NOTHING. My ex even had our oldest child sleep on the couch so his girlfriend’s children could have their own rooms. I was a stay at home mother and have done nothing wrong to deserve this. I miss being with my children and being involved in their everyday lives, as they feel the same. It’s not just about mothers and fathers, it’s about parents and they should be treated equal as the natural parents of their children. Fathers do evil and hurtful things to the mothers and vice versa. What’s sad is that they are trying to get to the “other parent” but they forget to realize the damage they are doing to their own children. Is there any justice out there?

February 20, 2009 at 2:03 pm
(64) tess says:

florida’s new laws are rediculious. My daugher ismgoing threw a child support hearing since ,the baby was two weeks old.He lied in court 3 timeas to the judge about being the father. A paternity was finally order by the courts. He is the father . Before that he would not have any thing to do we the baby. Now all of a sudden he is this great father. He has put my daughter through holy hell. Name calling at]nd so forth. She has ask him from the kidness of her heart feeling sorry for him. and let him spend time with him. He still wont help her in any way finacially. He said you wanted this kid not me. You deal with it. that is no way to be a good father to me. Thats why the still should deal with all the dead beat dads here in florida. I know all men are not alike. There are plent of good fathers out there. But if a judge was to look at this father rap sheet , he doesnt desere any rights to the baby. I hope you can understand my feeings toward this new law”.
thank you

February 25, 2009 at 9:01 am
(65) scott says:

I am going through the same thing but as a father i also recently went through a divorce and now custody issues. For almost two years i had joint custody of my three minor children and up to three month’s ago i went from being with my kid’s every other week for a week at a time to a “part time dad” every other weekend a total of 96 hrs a month i get to spend time with my kid’s all because of a Judge that was new to family law and even in her own word’s at one of the hearing’s said this family law is all new to me and i have to work out “the kinks” my kid’s are devistated by this and now my ex is alienating from them not allowing them to call me when they are with her and just completely trying to remove me from their live’s completely! Even after a social investigation was done and the investigator ‘s recommendation to the court that i appeared to be the better parent that i was to be awarded primary custody since my kid’s have their own rooms ,bed;s and space at my home and my ex lives in her moms house along with other adult’s and my kids sleep on the floor or with one of the adults in the house. I think that both parents should have EQUAL time with the kids they both were involved in bringing them into this world ! I think the Florida law on custody down right stink’s and there should be someone or something be done about it!!!! It’s not fair to the kid’s involved and its a shame that my ex is only concerned about her feeling’s and what she wants then what the kid’s want that is what is important the childrens feelings and need’s! Signed angry part time DAD!!!

February 25, 2009 at 12:32 pm
(66) heather hall says:

Funny how the laws changed effective 10/2008 and it is 02/25/2009 and the paperwork reflecting the changes in the wording is still not available at any court house for pro se litigants. can’t get divorced, can’t file for modification, can’t take any legal action without an attorney. it’s ridiculous..

February 28, 2009 at 11:41 pm
(67) Holly says:

I am also a non-custodial Mother. Not due to being unfir but due to not having money for a lawyer and my daughter was very physically sick over all the fighting so I allowed him to have primary care. We have joint physical and legal custody however, he seemes to think he can do whatever he wishes with our daughter who is now 14. Recentally he took her and her put on birth control without any discussion with myself or our daughter. She would like to come live with me but he is completely against it. In his opinion I am an unfit Mother and I don’t understand this at all. My daughter means the world to me and every decision in my life has always been made with her in consideration. He has made every second of both our lives a fight just to keep our relationship. Is there any help out there for us? I have called everyone to include the Governors Office over the last 6 years and no one wants to help me it seems. He is so bitter and mean even after 6 years. Can anyone help me understand why? Keep in mind he asked for the divorce and all I did was try to keep my daughter with me at every turn because she has asked me to.

March 1, 2009 at 9:03 am
(68) confused says:

I’m wondering if a parent, either one, after a few years of a problem-free custody agreement can go to the court to change the agreement without reason. Does there need to be a reason (neglect, making less money, abuse, etc.) for a parent to request a change in custody or can they simply request the change because they want more time?
Any help is appreciated.

March 3, 2009 at 12:44 pm
(69) Revolt says:

Fathers do get the raw end of the deal. I got stuck paying 4-6 times guideline support simply because I had run out of money and couldn’t afford to go to trial. My year to date income on the day we settled was $600 and yet I was handed $1,000/ month in obligation plus the entire mediation costs (went on a family member’s credit card) and $5,000 of her lawyer’s bills (borrowed from my elderly father).

So I directly pay 100% of health insurance for me and my son, 100% of life insurance and the support I pay his mom covers 100% of daycare and an extra $300 to cover 100% of diapers, etc. There is almost no contribution on her part.

I have him almost half of the time, which is good, but I shouldn’t have been treated like I had to buy the time from his mom-SHE DIDN’T OWN IT!

I raised this child from day 1. He came to work with me (I made a daycare in my office) for most of his first year. The custody evaluator was handed a ton of evidence displaying a gross level of irresponsibility on the part of his mother. They asked ZERO questions about any of those events to her, me or anybody else in the 7 months they took to complete the evaluation. They ended up saying that because I had (diligently compiled) provided all of this negative material about his mother (her actions), I couldn’t foster a loving relationship between them and recommended her as primary.

The Florida Bar wouldn’t do anything against this lawyer even when provided with a list of evidence a mile long that not a single question was asked about.

Dads need to take the system back by ANY means possible.

March 19, 2009 at 6:46 am
(70) Calculus says:

An excellent example of a parenting plan can be see at this link.

http://12circuit.state.fl.us/ProgramsampServices/FamilyDivision/ProposedParentingPlans/tabid/240/Default.aspx

There are 4 versions to adapt to specific situations. It covers basic, long distance, saftey focused, and highly structured.

April 14, 2009 at 8:46 am
(71) Susan says:

Has anyone been through the new process? What are the actual differences from before. Is it words or is there an actual difference?

April 30, 2009 at 2:36 am
(72) Erika Rojas says:

I came from a 6 yrs Domestic Violence Marriage, My ex tried to commit Suicide 4 times in 7 yrs, is been in a Mental Institution twice for Anger Management problems and people out there think is fair? it is of there has been NO ABUSE but when you are abuse by that person is actually a very scary situation.., Im still afraid of My ex husband I believe that any Judge should 1st make a background CHECK on either mother’s or Father’s before making any decisions. I don’t think this is a FAIR LAW… Florida is a Horrible State for Mother or Fathers suffering with Domestic Violence

May 1, 2009 at 7:08 pm
(73) Concerned Mom says:

Does anyone know of this new law is retroactive? My son has lived with me for 8 years, his father never paid child support and now he wants joint custody.

May 19, 2009 at 7:51 am
(74) me says:

Just a thought to put out there…how many moms would give up child support in order to get a vindictive ex to leave you alone? they should allow you to do that if you can afford it………..my ex would not be chasing me for custody if I could somehow not collect child support from him…child support is his issue as is many fathers..many fathers would not be so interested if it werent for child support issues……if you dont want child support you shouldnt be forced to receive it.

June 5, 2009 at 9:35 am
(75) Mel says:

Though the new law is good for divorced parents, it does not cover single parents whom have never been married. It is very biased that a father who all of a sudden decides that is what he wants to be can get 50/50. It is a very unfair law to single mothers. I know from personal experience that this law is biased. Why should a mother’s rights be taken away and given to someone who all of a sudden decides they want to be a parent. I think the laws needs to define the difference between divorcees and those who have never been married. As well as how long the other parent has been involved in the child’s life.

June 26, 2009 at 11:59 pm
(76) Bonnie says:

Linda (34):
Your husband IS paying support. You are living mortgage and rent-free. You just can’t see the money. It is YOUR responsibility to pay for the utilities, food, etc. IF you still want to live in this house. If you lived in your OWN house, you would have to pay everything. Get a clue, girl. You are not married anymore and those bennies are gone forever. Grow up, be responsible, get a job, and PAY YOUR fair share for the children and take care of your own support. Kudos to him for paying the mortgage! At least you have a roof over your head. And why in the world would you even WANT to stay in a house that holds bad memories? Looks like you are using this as a weapon. Get out and get your own place. Start new memories and set an example to your children. Cut the umbilical cord, for everyone’s sake. And so what if he gets “the house”? Let him have it and stand up on your own.

July 17, 2009 at 4:55 am
(77) Diana Howarth says:

I have a question. I have been married for 3 years. I have “Sole Custody” of my 5 year old son, my husband’s stepson. If something were to happen to me, would my husband would get sole custody? My x (we were never married) has not seen our son on over 2 years. My husband is in the military so we are constantly moving around. My x does not live in his residental state. He is not allowed visitation unsupervised until be takes 26 D.V. classes, a parenting class and drug and alcohol class which was back in Jan. 2008 which he has still not done. My husband is daddy and my son knows no different. I tried getting my x to sign rights over and he refuses even though everyone knows(his father included) he has a drinking problem, lives pay check to pay check and is irresponsible therefore is an unfit father. I wouldn’t want something to happen to me and my 5 yr old suddenly go live with a complete stranger. Can you give me advise as to what I should do?

August 24, 2009 at 7:52 pm
(78) jim says:

Ouestion.. I am a 21 year old male that has a child with a 20 year old female ..We did not marry but were living with her parents… I caught my girlfriend cutting arms up in front of my daughter..She is 18 months old… So I took the child and moved out before hand filed papers in court for custody… What are my chances of getting full custody? And what is the law that protends to my girlfriend trying to slit her arm up?

August 24, 2009 at 8:37 pm
(79) Neil says:

So if I understand you right, you don’t know what the law is going to be, so all you know is they are changing a few words. And yet, you chose to put down those words. Of course, at the end of the day, the laws and attitude towards the father is what matters. But don’t underestimate the words. I always thought the word visitation seemed to give my daughters mother the “upper edge”. She is the primary parent and I just have my daughter come visit. At the heart of the changes, I believe the default should be that both parents have the child 50% of the time, once a child turns 2.

September 2, 2009 at 4:56 pm
(80) Parental Priorities says:

I keep reading all of these negative things about “primary residential parents”, “visitation”, “non-custodial”, “custodial”. I don’t understand how words are going to change anything. Just because the word “visitation” changes to “time sharing” doesn’t change the meaning. Like Cathy says, it all comes down to the relationship you have with your child. That child is not looking at what is in that divorce decree. They are looking at their relationship with you. That is what is important, not what is on a piece of paper. If you are worried about what your friends and family or even a stranger on the phone are saying, you don’t have your priorities in the right order. And a parent is always a parent, no matter if it is the non-custodial or custodial. Custodial just means that the child is living with that parent. Had you rather the state just straight out ask you, does the child live with you or the other parent? They will have to do that when you call anyways. If they don’t, then that means they can already see it. So what is the difference? I just think too much is going into wordage. It’s taking away from what is most important, the child. It’s not about the parent feeling better. It’s about the child and what is best for the child. When you get divorced, a child is hurt the most. No matter how deeply you were hurt in your marriage or what was going on during your divorce, the main concern should always be that child. The child was hurt more than you can ever imagine. But everyone is too concerned about whether they are the “custodial” or “primary”. Focus on what matters. And to me, fathers and mothers alike are capable of being the primary parent. It all comes down to who can physically, spiritually, and mentally raise the child. Raising a child can be tough at times, especially when their is a divorce in the mix. But both parents have the responsibility to raise that child, and not just to the best of their ability, but to the best interest of that child. You have to go beyond the call of duty when it comes to raising a child. The primary and secondary have resposibilities alike but the parent that the child lives with does have more of an obligation to that child. That parent has to be the disciplinarian and they have to be the ones to feed them, make sure they brush their teeth, take them to doctors appts, make sure they understand their homework, take them to and from activities, etc. The secondary parent has the option to do these where the primary has an obligation to do these. Now there are exceptions in my opinion to this because there are so many secondary parents that are willing to consider this as an obligation rather than an option. When you get something like that going on, you are blessed. People just need to stop worrying so much about titles, think about what is most important. If it is your child, then I’d say you are feeling with your heart instead of worrying about your pride. Just my opinion.

September 28, 2009 at 8:16 pm
(81) Christopher Wirkkala says:

I’m thrilled that one state has done it right… now its time for the others to follow suit. So many parents are at loggerheads over custody simply by virtue of the financial implications (vs. the real need – consistent child rearing). That Florida is actually using the term parent (vs. custodian) is outstanding. I’m pushing to get the Washington State Division of Child Support (DCS) to undertake similar ratifications. Until that happens, more services are needed between current “custodians”. Please take my survey at: http://www.communityofdoctors.com/familyneedssurvey (THANK YOU)!

October 5, 2009 at 6:25 pm
(82) A says:

When is Florida going to do what is best for the children and not the parents rights? When do children of all ages have rights to a healthy and long life? I am sorry, but I worry more about the children than parents titles. I wish there was more on the “CHILDREN RIGHTS” not “PARENTS RIGHTS”.
I have seen many divorce children suffer and caught in the middle. I have seen parents drink and drive w/ kids and get away with it because they are the parent. I have heard so many stories that makes me sick. Chilren should come first. Being such, titles mean nothing because being a Primary Parent I have make sure the ex gets all his rights even though he walks all over mine and the childrens.
I was also told I have to have solid black and white evidence, and then it still might not be good enough my attorney said. Secondary gets away with more and needs less proof. What BS! No child support, relocating the children w/o written, kids coming home late, kids clothes missing, his girlfriend calling-interferring in my phone calls w/ the children-and nasty letters, my ex calling me foul names and leaving me messages that I am told not threats but emotional abuse. Hmm, but that is ok, because he is Secondary and it is my job to ensure a good relationship with him and our children even though he drives drunk with them and tries to hurt me through them.
I guess a title is important to some; however, I believe Children should come first and a title means nothing because it does not change what goes on or what happens. If it was happing in the marriage; it will happen when the marriage over and who ever has the best attorney will get what they want and because of that more harm can hapen. Noone should be given the right to hurt or put anyone in harms way. Being my ex is a secondary, he lets me know what his rioghts is and he tries to control me with them rights. I have gone to counseling and so did he. He admited it to the counselor, but that cannot be used. He said if I do not like it then give up all my rights, until then he will continue to play his games. So, what does titles mean? What does it mean to our children? When will our children best intrest truly be put first? Think about it when you complain about a title! Think about the child/ren and what is best for them and not what is best for us as a parent. I do not care what I am classified as; instead, I just want to know the children are happy and safe. That is all!

October 15, 2009 at 2:41 am
(83) william says:

it dont matter wich words they use , shared parenting , rotating custody , 50.50 . you name it . the main thing here is that finally the new florida law is helping fathers . woman always had the wrights on everything , and is not fair , they acted like they went to the store and buy a child , i always said , where is the recipe. these old laws where not only violating fathers wrights but violating childrens wrights to the fullest. what is in the best interest of the child , well guess , been with both parents . a child should live 7 days wich each parent that ways the child support issue is eliminated . they said that if the child had two homes it was instabled for the child , incorrect , the father it is not an antertainer for the weekends or a visitor, the father is the first creator of that life , yes the first creator of that life . the way a father loves a child and a child loves the father is only and only by the daily bonding togheter the daily living is what makes one love the other , so is more traumatic when the child realices that daddy in everyday of my life just happen to be a visitor , that is traumatic , and also dont forget woman always wanted child support that way it made kids look like a check

November 4, 2009 at 6:35 pm
(84) corky says:

Well, I am reading everyone’s scenario and as I see, they are all different. I myself was married to a verbally abusive man and have one Daughter with him. Although he is present in our Daughter’s life, he has manipulated my Daughter for self intended egotistical reasons. See, I left him, left all behind, left the house, the car, the business for the sake of setting an example for my Daughter as well as pursuing happiness. I agreed to 50/50 visitation as I firmly believe every child has the right to both parents and ultimately children are smart and they eventually are able to make their own opinions on each parent as they grow m. That is if there is not one parent undermining the integrity of the other in front of the child. Unfortunately, i did what I though was fair for my child, her father and myself. In leaving all behind, the end result was me having to work more to pay for a decent roof and to afford my share of my daughters expenses, and my ex husband stayed in the big house next to her school and friends. She is now 13 and fed up of packing and unpacking every week and has requested to live full time with her Father for convenience sake. It is heart wrenching and a result of having played a fair hand with an unfair person. He now uses this as a weapon and states I ruined his life by divorcing him so it’s now my turn. I have to believe that the man above sets records straight sooner or later and can only hope that I have instilled moral of fairness and integrity in my Daughter and that she not end up being a scorned individual such as my ex with heartless intentions..I hope I can resume a close relationship with her someday.

November 4, 2009 at 9:06 pm
(85) Marcus says:

The title matters alot I am tierd of my x telling everyone at his school, baseball, and everywhere that she is the PRIMARY parent and I have visitation. In fact we have by court order 50/50 but she gets mad because my fredom allows me to have him more so she makes me sound bad to everyone! it needs to change!

November 26, 2009 at 5:31 pm
(86) ANGEL says:

I am mother and i am the absent parent as they put it my ex- husaband won custody of our 3 sons not because i was a bad parent but at the time he had the job and the place to stay and a pay Lawyer at court i couldn’t afford one and didn’t now my rights or the law at the time he made it very hard for me one time i picked the kids up and brought them back 15 mintues late and he called the police on me i was so hurt this is the man i was married to for 10years and he did that i was afraid after that to even take my kids anywhere for the fear of being late he did all he could to hurt me he moved i had to find out where they were even though the court said i should always have his phone number and address he didnt follow it.Know he has married again and his wife is trying to stop me from maintaining a relationship with my kids when i call i have to call back all the time because she say they are always busy or they don’t answer the phone I really don’t know what to do my ex act as if he has given her his rights she puts the kids on speaker phone when i talk to them or she asks them what we talk about she tells them to lie to me if i ask a certain question just because he has custody do that give her the right to be over them can someone help me with this question is him marrying cancel my rights or do she have the right to be over what i do with my kids?

December 13, 2009 at 9:57 am
(87) Concerned Mother says:

I had my daughter out of wedlock. Her father wanted very little seeing her maybe a total of 17 hours her first year and a half. At the temporary hearings he was awarded 5 overnights under this new law. I have done nothing but encourage him to be a part of her life but now he is trying to take her from me. He and his family have endless amounts of money and I do not. My daughter is now 2. Can anyone give me advise as to how I can make sure she gets to go to school here and not an hour and a half away? We both believe in good educations. I would like her to start private school at Pre-K. Will I be able to enroll her without further litigation and us bringing to the court and a judge deciding which is a better private school?

December 16, 2009 at 3:49 pm
(88) Terry says:

I love the new law. I am a noncustodial MOTHER of 2 boys who are now 16 and 14. My ex had the attorney and I was suffering depression during my divorce. He got everything and 10 years later he still rubs it in my face that I am NCP. In 18 months when my oldest turns 18 I am going for a child support modification and I am going to petition the court to remove the words “primary residential parent” from my agreement. It may just be words to some people but to others like me it will make me feel like I got my life back again.

January 8, 2010 at 2:42 am
(89) jack says:

my ex-wife is a classic sociopath that has pretty much ruined my life. i stopped paying support and the state of florida does not care that i am physically disabled and now have 20k in back support for the last 3 years. she always had me in court refused to follow the judges orders and abused in our marriage and still abuses me through my daughter. i dod not get t otalk to my daughter for 3 years because she refused me. i moved out of state becasue my lawyer said seh is going to ruin your life. i lost jobs because she would give me a days notice for court dates and sometimes have 2 or 3 in a week, it was insanity. her pot head now ex husband threated me and verbally abused me in front of my daughter and i said this is the end. i refuse to let my life get ruined but this woman. you name it she accused me of it and the judge knoew it was BS and just gave me rights per florida law and never enforced his own orders and let him tell him she refused to do what he said. my lawyer said basically, give up she and fl courts you will not get justice.. i would shoot my self before i payed that woman back 29k , i pay just enough so they can not put me in jail.. i love my daughter but i care about my sanity too. so i walked away. i figured out a way to get her to let me talk to the kid but i highly doubt that i would get any justice ever. i did not even lay eyes on my daughter till she was 8 months old and i lived in the same town.. she calls me a dead beat dad when she dissapeared for 3 years and abused me through the courts. she wasted 100k of my money in legal fees. say what you will but my sanity mean more to me then the law or child support. if i get no visitation or even talk to my kid why should i have to pay? i was told by the judge that i legally could get her to pay me back the 100k but i would still have to pay support to her. flordia government and courts are retarded. my daughter lives like crap and if i paid for support i would just make her mother not have to get men sex for her dope.. to hell with the law in my POV. i can not even afford to go to court anymore. if i went to court she would not show up anyways and would get a continuance so i would not come back to the state and she would win no matter what.. my kid is basically a pawn for her pathological hate. after 10 years she emailed me and said she was still in love with me and wanted me back.. after calling me a doper and a wife beater and stalker. i have never violated the law and she has blackmailed me 2 times and the juged knew it and she kidnapped my daughter 8 times and refused visitation and if i could afford or wanted to i could have her put in prison according to the DAs office and i will not do that to my daughter.. the only reason i have not sent her to jail is because of my daughter. i do not hate my ex because she is just a mentally ill woman. i have had 6 psychatrists say i am a saint for not killing my ex-wife because of all the evil stunts she pulled on me. i have no moral obligaqtion to pay for my ex wife to by drugs and chase men. i once to paid her 6-8 months ahead and she just got meaner and got a new car and a lawyer and my kid never really got anything from it just her mother.. her ex-husband even told me she called my support checks play money. then she pulled the same crap on him as she did to me..

January 16, 2010 at 10:29 pm
(90) Linda says:

hi everyone….I just heard tonight from my brother that his wife wants out of the marriage. I knew from the get go that this so called trailer trash was like this and never said anything to my bigger brother but he was in love and its his life. so here it goes and looking for advice for my brother. He lives outside tampa florida and has a 5 year old boy that means the world to him. he wants hunter so bad but isn’t any child leagally given to the mother whom i know is so so unfit. she always goes to vegas with her girlfriends so so many times whil her 14 old girl stays home to watch hunter…..while my brother works his a…. off. she left him when he was 3 months old. my brother is the hardest loving parent anyone would want. please let me know how he can go about it.

February 22, 2010 at 9:11 am
(91) judy says:

I’ll tell you what the result of this new law is. I’m a stay at home mom and my husband just got custody of our children because I wanted to move closer to my family and wouldn’t agree to the 50/50 shared custody he asked for. My Attorney said that they interpreted my request as being unwilling to co-parent. I get two years of alimony, but I don’t think it will cover the child support they say I owe and I don’t have a job yet!

May 13, 2010 at 3:35 pm
(92) Ken says:

my ex-wife has just filed a lawsuit agaisnt me trying to have summers and christmas breaks, mind you she is the custodial parent and I ony have my daughter every other weekend. I really hope this law protect fathers and the judge lets her and her attorney know what is up. I am going to file my own petition to modify and ask for 50/50 for my daughter. I have been underemployed yet I have payed all my support up to date. I never have stoped paying for support but she never lets me see my child aside from every other weekend. She always has plans and does not allow me to see my daughter, who love me very much. My daughter cries when she is not around me and her mother never allows her to call me unless she is present. This is abuse and it has to stop. I am glad she has filed this petition to modify agaisnt me because now she will see, I hope to GOD, that I need to be with my daughter. I am a father thats wants to be involved very much so with my kid yet her mother is unwilling. I have never abused or cheated on her so she really is evil

May 13, 2010 at 9:37 pm
(93) MissG says:

I have been in Court for 2 years after my sons father basically kidnapped him on a scheduled time sharing period…. WE ALL have gone through SOO much PAIN, mostly, my son who does not understand why his daddy hates and trys to keep his mom out of his life so much? I have lost any respect for the legal system. I see my son every other weekend and one day out of the week…. There is a temporary court order stating the schedule. I will be going back to court and requesting 50/50 under this law… Lets see what happens! if GOD is with me? who can be against me?

May 23, 2010 at 12:41 pm
(94) jp says:

These changes to Florida’s family law are so important to children and fathers, finally brining some sanity to the divorce process.

Since the 2008 laws were passed, Florida has continued down the path of trying to ensure that children of divorce have two parents rather than a primary custodian and a visitor.

There is no presumption for any particular time sharing plan. This means that the old standard min vis (Wednesday dinner and every other weekend from 6PM Friday to 6PM Sunday, alternating holidays, and two weeks summer vacation) is no longer the default. The effect is to assume equal time sharing as a starting point.

In the 2008 law, if the other parent had at least 40% of the overnights, then there would be a reduction in the child support. This was done to address the old problem where the parents shared custody, but the primary custodian still received support as though the other parent was a visitor. Alternatively it ensures that even though the custody is equal, there is still some support paid to the lesser earner. Some judges eliminated child support because of the sharing and some custodial parents resisted recognizing the shared custody because it would mean loss of income.

Effective in July, the child support guidelines will be adjusted to eliminate the 40% overnights cliff. The new threshold is 20% (any time more than min vis). The change is designed to allow child support to flow to where the child goes. It should also minimize the incentive to fight for or against a particular plan because it would trigger an increase/decrease of child support.

They also beefed up the domestic violence provisions. One of the arguments against presuming shared custody is from the anti-DV community. They assume that to protect women, the law needs to discriminate against all fathers. Now, A first degree misdemeanor (or higher) domestic violence conviction creates rebuttable presumption of detriment to child and shared parental responsibility can’t be granted. In an effort to keep implied accusations from affecting the outcome of a custody case, the judge must now state that the abuse impacted the decision. It should make it easier to fight an unjust accusation and should keep future judges from reversing the decision because they were unaware of the problem.

June 1, 2010 at 7:01 am
(95) PI says:

I’m the “minority” parent with 60/40 and I wanted 50-50 my x and is family are so vindicative and they try to make all the rules for my child when she wants to be with me 50% of the time. I get nasty emails saying they are going to call dcf on me when i have done nothing wrong. All I want is my child. My x thinks it has to do with child support that i pay to him but its not i just want my child a far amount of time and i can’t talk to him at all with out him being nasty to me. He has told me by email that if he could get away with killing me he would. I feel that if i try to change our parenting paln that it won’t work cause that state of florida is not going to see my side. I don’t know what to do any more. All i can say is that she’s my child and i will fight for her as long as it takes and i will put myself in debt for her.

June 19, 2010 at 10:36 am
(96) Sheri says:

My divorce was finallized in October 2008 when the new law took place. So, we were both awarded shared custody. My ex was ordered to pay medical for our son and he was granted taxes every other year. I made $8hour and still make the same. He went from making $600-$800 a week to $9hour during the divorce so he wouldn’t have to pay anything. Months after the finallization of the divorce he bosted about making $800 a week. In the last two years he has paid one month of medical and not seen our son since dee of 2009. He does not even call him. So, I don’t believe that this shared custody is for everybody. Is there any suggestions for helping me get full rights to our son since the father is not in his life???

June 21, 2010 at 6:13 am
(97) Heather says:

What are the rights of parents who’s ex significant others are causing problems with the child. She is bad mouthing me to my child and is always trying to change things that me and the ex have set up. I have my daughter and he only gets her every other weekend. I dont know what I can do to not have my daughter not subjected to his new girlfriends actions.

July 24, 2010 at 5:51 am
(98) new wife says:

I really hope this law change helps my hubby his ex is a real piece of trash… begs for money every chance she gets and refuses to work…

August 5, 2010 at 2:26 pm
(99) Heather says:

I think the “NEW’ Law is stupid, if your the non-custodial parent it’s for a reason, and i understand that everyone has different situations, but me personally I tried doing the right thing with my ex- even drove our children 45 min there and back because he refused to come get them during his visits, he has never been to a dr.s appt, nor does he know their doctor, but wants some responsibilty with his children after 2 years cus hes got a nosey mother and a new bitch and now wants to take my children who have ALWAYS been with me I could go on and on,. but regardless of anyone situation terminology isnt gonna change the deadbeat daddys or deadbeat mommys attitude about anything, and all they are words that specifically name a parent sssshhheeessshh when did floridas laws become so compassionate? The only thing I see is this coming back to bit the courts in there ass terminology isnt gonna force someone to make the right moral decison, the fathers and others that are order to pay child support are just pist, and i know some people that abuse the support money and use it on themself instead of the children but dealing with a person that is only selfish and cares about himself and his situation doesnt deserve the right to be called a responsible party!!!

August 21, 2010 at 7:43 am
(100) Ma says:

I agree that changing terminology amounts to nothing if you are not a caring parent. However, I have also seen this new law taken to the extreme. A dear friend of mine had a child with a man she was not married to, nor were they involved in a long term relationship..it was just one of those things that happened. She felt that it was the right thing to do by telling him she was pregnant. Unfortunately what is supposed to be a blessing has turned into a nightmare.
She has been forced to share custody of her daughter with a man that hates her. She has been in and out of the courtroom since the day her daughter was born….I cannot comprehend how can the court force two people to co-parent when it is obvious that there are major issues between the two parents that will only bring harm to the child.
The new law could not possibly be meant to be carrried out in every situation…..this is one of those cases where the mother should be the primary custodial parent and the father have visitation rights only.

September 12, 2010 at 11:53 am
(101) Nan says:

Ever heard the saying, “Actions speak louder than words?” Give me a break. How does the wording on a piece of paper label you one way or another. It’s your decision and your actions that label you. Get real. If you were actively involved with your children, financially, mentally and physically then it wouldn’t bother you what the decree says you are in a role. My ex husband and I share parental responsibility. We are “parents” How dare he get a say in their lives when he does nothing to contribute to them. 12 grand in back child support and he thinks he’s #1 dad. He’s called a “parent” and has equal say but he hasn’t earned it. If that’s what you guys are trying to say. Just because he’s labeled “parent” and has shared responsibility doesn’t mean he is. Focus more on what you should be doing and do it rather than worrying about what your role is labeled as on a piece of paper! Ridiculous!

October 31, 2010 at 11:41 am
(102) want2know says:

My best friend had a child out of wedlock prior to the new law going into effect. Since my friend is the one who ended the relationship, the father of the child has made my friends life a living nightmare.

My friend sought an atty to file for child support from the father. Unfortunately she did not expect the father to fight for custody. What has happened since is a nightmare that no one should endure..much less a child.

My friend was told by her atty that since the custody laws were going to change later that year..she would not be the primary residential parent and that all decisions involving the child had to be made equally. This was a complete mis-representation by her atty…the new law had not gone into effect, and even if it had..she could have fought for primary residential parent due to the circumstances of the case. Unfortunately she was not in the right emotional frame of mind and she agreed to a parenting plan that simply does not work.

What I have learned from her experience is that you cannot trust that the atty you hired will always work for what is in your best interest. You need to stay informed, you need to TELL your atty what you want and why…do not allow the atty to make the decisions for you. Unfortunately most of the people involved in her case, including the guardian and the atty’s, cared only about the money they were making. Everyone agreed that the father was a “psycho” ..yet no one did anything about it.
The law was changed to give both parents equal rights to spending time with their kids, for the benefit of the child. What the courts or the new law fails to see is that every case is different and a ‘shared parenting plan” does not work in high conflict cases.
How can a parenting plan that requires both parents to work together and co-parent be effective when the people involved basically cannot get along, when there is so much animosity and hatred involved. How can that be for the benefit of the child.

November 3, 2010 at 12:42 am
(103) new wife says:

who cares if you broke up and hate each other…ITs NOT ABOUT YOU. its about the kids pretend to get along and work things out for your kid.
also if your a deadbeat broke ass baby mamma trying to get a free ride in life thats fine,but expect the new wife to hate you.

December 29, 2010 at 1:09 am
(104) Robert says:

Having been through a brutal dicvorce in which my X cheated on me multiple times, lied both in the courtroom and to the custody evaluators -and got caught! Yet still won in court – I have been totally dismayed by Florida’s treatment of fathers within the divorce context.
Firstly, “The Tender Years Doctrine” is still soundly in place, just within the judges heads. It matters not that my X works longer hours than me putting my son into a “before school ” at 7am when school starts at 8:30. The idea that women are largely working as much and many times more than the male seems to have little relavance.
To make matters more obscene, I must drive 80 miles 2-3 times a week to fulfill my visitation – gladly so – but the costs are high to accomplish this, I have my son 36% of the time, and have been unemployed for over two years – all the time accruing debt through arrearages ($15,000 at this point) which were unfair from the beginning.
The question I have is – Is the function of child support to level the playing field between the two households such that the child doesn’t experience drastically different lifestyles in either place. And if this is so, how can I, making no money and on food stamps be required to pay my X $550/month, when she makes $43k/yr? This is an imbalance and the field is far from level.
Finally, I am moving part time to my X’s town where I will have my son an extra day a week, making the sharing 50/50. Does this not constitute Joint Custody in form? What should my obligation be then?
Joint custody should be the mandate and parents simply need to deal! Further, if one parent simply refuses to follow the rules of joint custody, then this in itself is a statement that that parent is non-cooperative and not “facilitating the best relationship of the child with the other parent.” This is statute and priciple and is seriously undervalued as a means test.

April 11, 2011 at 10:07 am
(105) angelina says:

IN MY OPITION.. i think this new bs. is criminal there are more then one type of situation when dealing with different types of custody issues .. now this raping it seems… forced to give dead beat fathers who only demand custody rights cause forced to pay child support get more time separating the child more from the only real caring parent.. its all nice an dandy when ur middle class an up but when u look at the bottom the people there will be badly f&&ked .. once again money has won now stripping the poor Americans of even their children presents already forced to raise feed an discipline with in a strict governmental rule book of does an dont tell me when did god die.. cause it seems there is a ton of a$$holes trying to take his place….iv a 2 year old son.. live in fl..father in an out of jail no job lives with his barely now legal wife an their 10 month younger then my son daughter ..did not care if he saw him or not unless i payed for the travel an where we went with my money we had a agreement he doesnt mess with me about having him .. but these new laws give him the right to make me suffer for his lack of caring for our child cause its my fault he has to pay although its mandatory if u receive any state help while pregnant.. an u try being a single pregnant 20 year old no one will hire u..

May 10, 2011 at 12:59 pm
(106) Kristy says:

I’m still in the middle of my divorce and my children have been the ones suffering. I was in a very unhealthy marriage for 7 years, dealt with affairs and abuse. When he left us to be with someone else I was completely devastated. I always had the hope that if I just treated him the way I wanted to be treated that things would change. It never did. Stupid on my part. He left us with nothing. I was a full-time student with no job ( because he asked me to quite blaming his first affair a year prior to the fact that I no longer had time for him). He left us in a place that should have been condemned. We had no hot water, no air or heat, I couldn’t afford the gas for our stove, and we we’re infested with bugs. I was clinically diagnosed with severe depression and had two small children to take care of I am ashamed for the way my kids had to live. I had to get my kids out of there, fast. I called my ex and asked him if he could have the kids live with him until I could get on my feet, he said yes, at first. He was supposed to have them between four-six months, we even signed papers for this. I moved in with my sister and continued looking for a job. Five weeks after my ex took my kids he called me telling me either take them back or we’re putting them up for adoption. I couldn’t let that happen, so I begged my friends and family for help, once again. continue…….

May 10, 2011 at 1:00 pm
(107) Kristy says:

I was only able to find room for me and my daughter. My ex said that he would keep our son for another two months, but I had to take our daughter because she was interfering with his relationship with his girlfriend. Two weeks later he calls me and tells me I have to take my son too. It has now been five months since I took my son back, he has seen them a total of four times for between 3-4 hours. He has not paid a dime in child support. The moment he got a letter form the child support agency that he was going to have to pay more than 800 dollars a month he decided he wanted 50/50 custody. I’m afraid because of these laws that I’m going to loose 50percent of my time with my children simply because he doesn’t want to pay child support. I know he’s not going to live up to his 50 percent, he will make reason for not having them. How is this fair to my kids, when their father just keeps hurting them?

June 24, 2011 at 8:10 pm
(108) Rita Gibson says:

My son and his girlfriend had a precious baby boy. He went to work..she collected welfare and medicaid…She wound up harming my little grandson, so my son came to me with the baby under a policeman’s order and told him to stay there. My 5 month old grandson had his fingertips cut almost off with her trying to cut his nails and several other incidence. I kept him for 2 and a half years. I was the woman who nurtured him, taught him things and loved him. My son also loved him and we spent thousands trying to get custody. Well in the end the judge ordered him half custody and her half. She first had supervised visits. She lived with mommy who defended her in court. Poor little mommy. Her daughter resides with her mom to this day. My son had to go back with her because that’s what she wanted and used the baby to get him. He went back to keep the baby safe. Now at 3 he stopped eating, talking. Do the court’s know what they are doing to our kids? Each case is an individual case and my grandson was just thrown back into harm’s way because of the pity party they showed in court. Change the laws before more children get harmed.

July 5, 2011 at 6:51 pm
(109) Jessica says:

I have read a majority of the commnets on here. My heart truly goes out to each and every person involved, misinformed and blinded by the lies the courts want you to believe. I KNOW what’s like to be the child of divorced parents AND have your father leave the state because the child support payments were to high. Mean while my mother collected government help and benefits for me. Who mind you was left in the care of which ever grandmother would take me.
I am 26 years old today and grateful that I experienced first hand the abuse of the legal system in Florida. I have a 4 year old daughter with a man who I will not bash because in the end I chose to have a child with him, HOWEVER to those of you who believe the mumbo jumbo that the courts changed the terminology because they care. You are sadly mistaken, in february of 2008 when I filed for to have a restraining order put in place against my abusive ex I was already the 8,514 case THAT YEAR in the family courts for child, domestice violence issues.
The courts are soo sick and tired of having these cases take up their time and tax payor money. They are so sick of Fathers complaining of high child support payments and never seeing their children as much as they would like. That they came to conclusion if the terminology is changed parents won’t argue about who is “more responsible” for the child or has more “rights”. And the 50/50 visitation split takes care of the high support fees. See the more time spent over nights with the child lowers the amount you pay in child support.

July 5, 2011 at 8:53 pm
(110) Cathy says:

Im so sick of hearing the mother is the better parent. My daughter in law took my grandson..snuck out of the house without my son knowing and my son hasnt seen his son in almost 3 months. You say call your child …keep in touch with your child. Well, the MOTHER is hiding with him and my son has no idea where she is. How is he supposed to keep in touch with his child if he is being hidden from him. yes, there have been papers filed by him ..not her. shes done nothing thru the courts. so he is just waiting now for her reply. this woman has mental issues(literally) and we are all concerned for the baby. So stop assuming all the time that the mother is the better parent. Do the names Susan Smith, Andrea Yates, Casey Anthony sound familiar, among many others? Dads do not get enough credit and its ridiculous. he is a good dad and he wants and loves his son.

August 2, 2011 at 7:29 am
(111) Lisa says:

Under this new law, many mothers will be punished. 1. In my case when my ex and I split, I lost many jobs taking care of our son who had multiple medical problems while he went to college and now works M-F 9-5. He now says that he’s home more than me (I work 2 part time jobs in retail) and should have our son the majority of time and me pay child support. How is this fair? 2. I have been served papers and told that I may lose having my son most of the time as I’m working to make ends meet. 3. My ex used the shared parental responsibility to block me from anything he disagreed on, including our son seeing a therapist when the pedatrician and school guidance counsilor agreed. When parents are fighting over what they beleive is best for their child, one parent needs to have the final decision making and it should be the parent the child lives primarily with. Back and forth time-sharing is detrimetnal to many children, especially those with ADHD like my son.

August 28, 2011 at 8:21 pm
(112) lee says:

My ex only see’s her daughter 2 weekends a month and not the full time for summer. she takes no special interests in her during the week,and she has moved 40 miles away,we live in Florida and would like to go back to Arizona to take care of my mom which needs help with her Cancer treatments is there anything I can do
As the Custodial parent it really seems i have no rights since she has said she will not pay for anything unless I take her back to court and I cannot afford a attorney,
Any Help Please

September 15, 2011 at 12:02 pm
(113) Diana says:

Just wondering what some of your thoughts are on this situation. My brother in law passed away a few years ago. My sister recieves social security for the children. Due to the tradgic death of my brother in law there have been things my sister has done that makes me think she may not be a stable parent for the children. She has now married again and her new husband has his own punishments he deals out for the children but my sister has no problem with what ever he does. Both children have asked if they could come live with me. My sister told them no. She thought I had something to do with it so now the 2 children I have always had time with are now not allowed to speak to me at all ever. The children have said they wished their dad had not passed away that he would fight in court for them. But they live in FL and the rest of our family live in AL. Both AL and FL do not give rights to grandparents, aunts or uncles. I feel that children in divorce homes are given an outlet even if it is visiting the other parent. But children who have a parent die are just stuck with the living parent. So I was just wondering if your child was in that situation and you had passed would you want your child to be unhappy or would you want them to be able to go live somewhere where they would be loved and took care of. Please contact your congress in Washington and in your state of FL. Please ask them to give the children in this kind of situation another way to grow up. The reason I ask is that my sister has been turned into the child protective services only to have them not do anything or even go to her house and check on the children. Just wanted you guys to think about other children in another situation. I do know how you feel. I grew up in a divorced home. Please pray about this situation for us. Our family is torn apart over my sister not allowing any of us to talk to or see the children. Sincerely.

October 4, 2011 at 10:48 am
(114) ashley sh says:

My fiance and i have been going through fighting with his ex about letting him have his kids, she will let us have them on the weekends sometimes but the minute she gets mad she takes them and says we cant have them anymore. We have tried to prove her the unfit mother she is. We have called dcf on her for screaming and cussing at them she has threatened to punch the youngest who is 4 in the face she has a bf who is a drug dealer and we heard it from her mouth. She has let them stay home from school many times bc she didnt feel like getting up to take them. …… i could go on forever and dcflways closes the case. Its bs and idk what to do

October 21, 2011 at 9:53 am
(115) Josh says:

I am not familiar with the new Florida law referred to here, but the changes proposed resonated so clearly with me as a divorced father who is referred to as the non-custodial parent in Kentucky, and only has “visitation” with my child whom I would argue I have more of a positive influence on. These changes, in my view, are highly progressive, and start to truly reflect the best interest of the child, and ought to be commended and adopted by every state in the union. I can understand how Ms. Meyer would think that “changing the words used by the courts isn’t going to amount to a hill of beans.” The reason is simple. You are a woman, and have never had to endure the impact of the terminology used so often to label fathers, the undertones that those words carry, and the impact that they have on the psyche of the fathers, even as they try to do the right thing. Arguing against the value of words in this case, is tantamount to suggesting that such words as “xxxxxx”, “xxxx”, “xxxxxx”, “xxxxxx”, and other similar racial slurs really do not affect people’s lives. Words matter. Words have shaped worlds. Words have helped distinguish us humans from our less developed primate cousins. So these changes are significant and Ms. Meyer ought not to so readily shun the value due to her lack of appreciation of the potential impact these will have on the lives and relationships of many men and children.

January 17, 2012 at 12:32 pm
(116) virgil says:

please help, just moved to florida from texas, split with my girlfriend,my sons mother, he lives with me…i have been taking care of him since we split in oct. off and on she will say he is comming back to live with her, i enrolled him in daycare,i take him for shots,i cook his meals,i take care of him. how do i win a custody battle in fl? who will help? what should i have if this goes to court …all i have is hearsay, she does yell at him,she was violent with me,she does smoke pot….she is very unfit to provide care,….im really worried because people tell me florida puts mothers above fathers? please send any and all types of advice to sheltonjr.virgil@ymail.com

February 10, 2012 at 10:26 pm
(117) Ruth says:

My daughter is 18 years old lives in Florida and has a 2 years old the father will not allow her to move out of the state with the child the father got mad when he found out that he would have his daughter more than every other weekend my daughter has found out that when he does have his daughter he is never spending time with her he leaves her at home with his mom so tell me how is that right?my daughter gets no help from the father and she wants to finish college and just wants to be able to move home so she can get help so she can finish college and have a better future for her and her daughter I dont understand how a state can tell you what you can and cant do Dont get me wrong I know there are some great men out there that are great father and they should be able to see there kids but when a father has never done anything for his daughter or eve n help support his daughter and still does nothing why should he be able to say no you cant? I think things need to change so when you have a father that is only intrested in hurting the mother of the chid and can only do that by using the child how is that the best thing for the child.

March 6, 2012 at 12:45 pm
(118) james says:

I have a question i live in the same neighborhood with my daughter will i be able to get 50/50. my ex-wife bring my daughter over every morning so she could walk to the bus stop with my other daughter that i have custody of.

April 22, 2012 at 2:04 am
(119) David says:

I have been fighting for my 4 children since my divorce 10yrs ago.My ex worked as a court reporter with all the judges,state attorneys,ect…I havnt spent 1 holiday not even fathers day with any of my kids,never have seen a report card or made aware of decisions.They are now trying to put me in jail for 6montes for spending the day with my youngest.How do you ever get that back.Our judges,courts the whole system is driven by $$$ and then say in childrens best interest

April 25, 2012 at 9:28 pm
(120) amy says:

I do think parents should have equal rights. But i am a pregnant woman whose ex bf does not give a crap about the pregnancy unless its convenient for him. Now i would like eberyone to think about handing your little infant over to someone who has shown no interest and then trusting them to take care of every need the baby has….i can guarantee you no mom out there of a newborn baby is going to be worried about making sure this person has fair rights. Its going to be you’re scared because this person who has acted like he doesnt care is drivjng away with your baby….maddening i say. Thats what im facing now. Im getting a lawyer to make sure that just cuz this guy sonated his sperm that he cant get equal rights to a newborn baby. Maybe im wrong but im going to protect my baby from a guy who doesnt care.

June 3, 2012 at 7:06 pm
(121) Evet says:

The solution: the child is 1 when you divorce, the mother is the “custodial” parent for approximately 8 years, or whatever terms you want to use (the current terms are degrading and disgusting). Then the remaining 8 or so, the child now lives with the father, and the mother becomes the “non-custodial” parent. This is truly in the Best interest of the child as the child is not cheated out of a loving parent (as is the case currently by a malicious or abusive “custodial” parent) and each parent is allowed to be a loving parent to the child.

This is the best solution. The current situation, malicious mothers are allowed to lie in “family” court, and the “family” court facilitates this fraud. (what percentage of cases would you venture this happens). The divorce industry, including the govt, judges, psychologists, social workers, lawyers….will not change this atrocity as long as it is so lucrative for them, but to deny a parent access to their child and the child access to a loving parent, because of selfishness and greed, is not justice, it is abuse of those who are denied access to each other based on greed, lies, selfishness, malice and bias…that IS NOT IN THE “BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD”.

June 20, 2012 at 11:58 am
(122) ashley says:

My ex husband and I have been civil for the last year and a half that we have been divorced. He has around three months ago stared dating a girl who is very possive. She called me yesterday to inform me that I had no right to know where my children are when they are with her and their father. That I am no longer allowed to speak to their father about arrangements for pick up and drop off that I am to only go threw her. That I am not allowed to speak to my children when they are with them. Her and my ex are in law enforcment and I have been intemidated by being told they know all the judges and officers and have. What are my rights?

July 24, 2012 at 11:00 am
(123) Vanessa says:

I am a single mother of 2 kids and live in Florida. I was together with my ex for 10 yrs. He is a convicted felon he is always in & out of jail. He has never given me a $ for my 2 kids and only comes around or calls on holidays. How is it that I can get sole custody of my children? i am in fear of their lifes if I go to court and they give him rights for visitation. Mind you I don’t have him on child support or never call him to give me any type of $$. He makes his money the ilegal way.

August 22, 2012 at 1:46 am
(124) A1pha says:

I understand resistance to a law. I do not understand how there is a system that rewards people that produce nothing.

In a very strange divorce where my spouse ran off with the lawn boy. I was left with a newly born child. I had to question if it was mine and my 3 year old. During this entire time my wife at the time refused to ever work or hold any job. After divorcing and creating a separation agreement the person that contributed the least (her) in not only financial, moral and physical needs was reward the martial house and alimony because of the children (say at home mom she says) and main custodian for that same fact (she did not work) as that what had been done well I lived there. (aka. She did nothing the system says she should always do nothing.)

Now for all this I ask you should I have to give 1/4 my income to this person? To be squandered and my kids never see any benefit?
The person with no financial goals other than milk me, getting WIC, government medical assistance, and us her new boyfriend when I have all the bills from the birth, marriage and divorce? Odds are she will lie on her taxes till the day she dies.

Please define how this person can be considered to be given anything.

If you make $0, I believe you should get zero. Reward the producers and doers those are the people making families and are involved. This system is broken. Those that love their family should not be punished and there should be accountability to where child support is spent.

Don’t try to punish me more. Make me pay more->to see my kids less->to pay more.. its a viscous cycle.

December 17, 2012 at 9:41 am
(125) Shar says:

Does anyone know where i can find a copy of the PRE 2008 Guidelines? My husband’s ex “claims” they agreed to the guidelines laid out there, but they did NOT and now we only have a copy of the new ones. Their divorce was final in 2002. If anyone knows, please email me at bestamommy at yahoo dot com.

Thank you.

February 17, 2013 at 3:35 am
(126) Jason says:

1) Ladies it is sorry to say have a beautiful daughter that my ex-wife and I PLANNED to have, In fact she asked to marry me prior to all this several times b4 I agreed. I have NEVR been in trouble for Anything ever. She tried to get an anulment duh theres a child involved. I ws offer 25k to sign of custody in 2001. However how could I ever tell my little girl that?! We went to court and becasue myself at the time a 23year old man with a 10k nest egg was derstroyed in court.

February 17, 2013 at 3:37 am
(127) Jason says:

part 2) I was granted supervised visitation only because of lies she had told. By telling more lies she was able to keep me away. 1st my mom was a drunk 2nd my brandma beat the kids– it went on and on, my family is huge, I asked for a gardian adlightem and they refused. Over 6 lies were prooven false and still they sided with her. I was ordered to pay $162 a week ( thats $802 5 motnhsout of the year)and at the time of the signing of the devorse the Ex had me fired. As a Jeweler when lies and papers are served at you place of employmeny you get fired. The they take away your DL (how does this help), Finally after I found her at age 8 ( I had seen her for a total of 6 days hrs wise before this) I find here because of Facebook.

February 17, 2013 at 3:42 am
(128) Jason says:

3) With the $ draining because the adopted parents dying off she lets me back in to see our little girl. I find out tha she was married a 2nd time to man whom hurt them both. So now I was seeing her aalmost everyday, I belive it ws because she wanted to go party. I found out and proved she was giving out baby benadrill to go to sleep-always slept in the same bed and my daughter remembered me and was in love as was I. Im not a good dad, Im a awsome dad.

February 17, 2013 at 4:16 am
(129) Jason says:

Part 3)So then I check up on school work because when I asked her about here grade she was in she didnt even know! I go to her school and they told me that the child had no BIO father per what MOM said because she never put me on the bith certificate, even though we were marride and the $2300 DNA test I was ordered to take because she lied about that too was 99.9% You would think the court would see a pattern. So Myself in an 8yr relationship has the ex-wife try to commit suicide by Xanax and Oxycodone in front or our girl and tells her it is because Daddy left us and forced mommy to marry the bad man. I took the little one while the EXwas baker acted and sent toa mandatory treatment program, all the while asking me to marry her again and apologizing (ON FILM NO LESS)

February 17, 2013 at 4:17 am
(130) Jason says:

part4)Now with this crazy surprise, I start checking everything my baby should have been in 3rd grade and was in 1st. She had switched school 7times and was absent or tardy more time in one year then she was in school all the other years combined. Her mom would lie about home schooling to avoid trouble. So I take it to court ASAP for emergency custody ( And I Would NEVER keep my ex away for our child thats not right) Lawyer $5700 lies like sexual abuse come into play along with things you would never even imagine

February 17, 2013 at 4:19 am
(131) Jason says:

Part4) Remember I am a College graduate in HR AABA- Med Psych AA and a BA in HR (who cannot spell LOL) $2600 so far for the Guardian adlitetim a certified DR who has said that the Mother is clinical Bypolar and manic and has been since birth. Still 2yrs later I still have not had my day in court because her family’s $ can cause a variety of Delays. My Daughter now, who has the ability to be smart, she plays chess with me @8, was tested and has a 2-3rd grade education at age 12. The worst part is she wants to live with me and love the discipline I give her, when I first got her she realized slamming doors and throughing fits was not gonna work with me. I need prayers people please! I need her to live with me to insure school is caught up and she is not knocked up at 15.

February 17, 2013 at 4:32 am
(132) Jason says:

Part 5)The sad truth as the Psycholgist said they must side with the mother becase she has closer bond from birth yet when gay couples have children this is NOT how it works. Pray to bring back daddy, It takes to to raise a child so the benifit from the life expereince from both male and female. Money talk period. 6 more years and I can see her even if her mom says no.

February 17, 2013 at 4:36 am
(133) Jason says:

Last Part 6) This is the worst feeling I get does it make me a bad person??
Sometimes I feel I should have taken the 25k they offered to sighn over parental rights and invested that with the child support That I wouldn’t had to pay plus the last 12 years of atturney fees for 18yrs of court and everything I could have retired and sent her to ANY school. Thus I would have never been able to look my beautiful little girl again and say I did everything I could. Daddy loves you Faith and will see you soon. I will have a Book coming out soon called Losing Faith/ it is about my situation and others along with the real facts of how much the ABA says raising a child cost along with many facts. 30% will go toward fixing this problem Thank you

March 4, 2013 at 1:20 pm
(134) Raymond Flowers says:

What if the children do not belong to you . She spelt with a black man the children are half and half. but they are taking my money for the children. I think this is not far for me I did not have this children what about the real father what is his role in this. Please tell me what i have to do?

March 9, 2013 at 6:33 pm
(135) Beth Little says:

I want to ask a question, my daughter has married a control freak idiot and moved to Florida. He is NOT the biological father of my granddaughter, but he did marry her while she was pregnant and his name is on the birth certificate. They lied to the real father and denied him his rights to be a father if he so wished, which I think is a crime. jshe is from Tennessee where they got married and he is from florida. He is telling her if she divorces him that she will never be able to leave the state of florida, he will not allow it. I am just wondering if this is a law, or since he pays NO ATTENTION to our granddaughter unless someone is watching why he keeps threatening her with this. He thinks he is KING, and he is constantly berating my daughter and threatening her to the point she is beginning to hate him. I am worried for my daughers and grand daughters safety. He also hates her family which assures me his is a mentally sick individual. He is sicker than even the Army thinks he is. I have watched too many lifetime movies not to know where this is headed. I would appreciate any answers or help you can offer. Thank you

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