Published On: Tue, Apr 2nd, 2019

How to File for Divorce in Florida With Children

A few psychological aspects

There is such a stereotype in our culture that divorce is traumatic for a child. Allegedly, it is impossible to build the process of divorce and further life so that the child remains in psychological comfort.

Most often this is what happens: parents scandalously divorce in front of a child, they draw him into their relationship, set him against each other. As a result, the child reacts with symptoms of a different nature: from behavior disorder to emotional problems and psychosomatics.

Such a setting forces many mothers and fathers to remain in an unhappy marriage “for the good of the child”, causing an additional feeling of guilt and shame in front of him if the couple decided to divorce.

According to the , in the U.S., at least 66% of all divorced couples are childless, so we can only guess whether all the couples with children are happier to be married, or they just afraid to take a step.

However, a divorce may be not traumatic for a child. A child is actually able to experience a divorce without injury, emotional disturbances. This becomes possible if spouses, or at least one of them, are able to divide their spousal functions from the parental ones and not to draw the child into the spousal sphere.

In healthy families, there is an adequate and clear boundary between these two subsystems (spousal and parental). Mom and dad act as parents for their children, but children are not allowed or included in the sphere of marriage. This means that parents do not find out the relationship with children, do not use their children as friends to cry and complain.

When children are not included in the marital subsystem, they have a childhood, and they do not need to worry about their parents, they are given the freedom to solve the task of their development, instead of taking on responsibility and “rebuilding the family”.

So, if there are serious problems in a marriage that it is hard for the spouses to put up with, which make the life of one or both of them unbearable, the divorce should take place. And you should not justify your indecision like “it’s all for the sake of my child!”, enjoying the role of the victim.

But what is the “health” divorce when you have children? How to arrange it in the right way? How to communicate with the former spouse, encouraging the child contact with his/her other parent?

Reasonable approach to divorce with children

Nowadays, the American family is changing significantly and rapidly. According to recent studies, the rate of acceptance of divorce rises. Three-quarters of divorces are uncontested and, for the first time, the majority of married adults and “very religious” Americans calls divorce morally acceptable.

At the same time, many family researchers are caught by surprise with the recent dip in the divorce rate. So, it can be said that people began to take a more responsible approach both to the marriages and to their dissolution.

So, speaking of a divorce with children the best way is an uncontested divorce. It’s namely that way which allows separating the child from the parents’ disputes. Contested divorce implies numerous court battles, and typically, the spouses don’t even communicate directly in the court, resorting to the divorce attorney to represent them and speak on their behalf.

Children often present on the hearings, the may be interviewed, and during the heated debates, the parents may not always be delicate enough, so the child may feel like he/she should choose between the parents, take someone’s side. And that’s a real traumatic experience. If speaking of a regular divorce case without truly extreme factors, contesting the divorce is often completely unnecessary trouble for all the involved parties. If you may refuse it – you’d better do it.

In Florida, an uncontested divorce starts with the pointing of a no-fault ground of “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage” in your petition for divorce (according to So, the really important thing you can do for your child’s good is to agree with your ex to an uncontested divorce and to cooperate working on a Parenting plan and Marital settlement agreement.

Florida courts may decide child custody in their own discretion, but they especially appreciate when the parents are eager to make their own plan. The point is that the main aim of any custody arrangement is to respect the best interest of the child, and this principle is fundamental for any divorce with children in all the U.S. states. So who else but parents know best what will be best for their child? Thus, it’s better to think in advance about all the terms of your parenting plan jointly.

Florida family law implies that there are two types of custody which are called “parental responsibility” and “time-sharing.” Parental responsibility usually referred to the decision-making power of each parent. In Florida, it’s presumed that it’s in the best interest of a child if parents share these rights and liabilities, no matter how frequent is the child’s contact with each parent.

Parental responsibility usually includes some big decisions concerning the child’s education, upbringing concept (or, for example, religion), medical treatment, travel out of the state, and so on. While parents create their agreement they may allocate the spheres of influence or include some other circumstances and possible changes which can’t take place without consulting with another party.

Such an agreement is, for sure, more personal than a court-ordered plan (though the court also considers closely all the important factors which may show what would be better for the child). Your individual parenting plan may take into account some details which importance can be understood and felt deeply only by you two as parents, so yours and your child’s post-divorce life will be more orderly and peaceful.

The second sphere of child custody is “time-sharing.” Time-sharing predictably means how the child’s time is divided between two parents. Keeping in mind the child’s attachment to the habitual home, school, society and other factors the parents should decide who could be the better candidate to be the primary (physical) custodian of the child.

Roughly speaking – who should provide a home for the child and be in charge of the day-to-day care. Florida courts can award the sole parental responsibility or the purely sole physical custody just in cases when it’s concluded that the other parent’s participation may be not safe for the child’s physical or emotional condition and general well-being. Therefore, the parent who doesn’t live with the child may have as many hours of visitation as parents will to agree on.

One parent can have a majority time-sharing, or both parents can have approximately equal time-sharing depending on their wishes and the location of their residences. Visitation may have a form of alternate weekends, overnights, holidays, or even months.

All these parents’ decisions anyway must be submitted to the court, and the judge should carefully consider this plan and approve it. The more detailed it is, and the more both parents are interested and involved in a joint work the more chances that the judge approves such a parenting plan with no hassle.

Otherwise, if the parents fail to reach an agreement, or their plan doesn’t satisfy the judge the court may order the mediation session. As a last resort, if the court-ordered mediation failed, and an agreement wasn’t reached, the spouses have to go back to court and then the judge may make decisions for them.

Divorce is never easy. Nevertheless, if you have children, you should always keep in mind that it’s only your, spousal, burden. Don’t start a contested divorce even without trying to negotiate with your spouse about the most crucial issue of divorce – your child’s future wellbeing. As it’s truly worth all the difficulties that you have to overcome in the process of divorce. And, no wonder, that an “amicable” divorce often requires much more attention and wisdom than money.

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