Our Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediators at Mediation of Coral Springs, Inc. have found that unrepresented parties don’t understand that in Florida cases involving time-sharing with minor children, Florida Statute § 61.13 requires that a “Parenting Plan” must be entered by the court.
Time-sharing which many people refer to as visitation has a very important role in both parent’s ability to maintain a relationship with their children before and after a Florida Family Law court grants a Dissolution of Marriage. It is vital for both parents to make their children feel comfortable and at ease in his or her respective home after the divorce is final. However, our Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediators often hear parents make comments that make it apparent that one or both of them have used time-sharing in such a manner that it places the children in the middle of their parent’s divorce related issues.
What some parents don’t understand is that their children have anxieties when they make the transition from one parent’s home to the other’s for time-sharing. There can be a number of reasons why these anxieties exist. For example, a parent may attempt to make their children take sides by making them feel guilty for having time-sharing with the other parent by telling them that “I’ll be sad after you leave for time-sharing”. The appropriate way to speak to their children is to tell them to have a great time during the time you spend with your mom or dad.
Some parents try to buy their children’s decision to not exercise time-sharing with the other parent by planning extravagant trips that impact time-sharing schedules; or by enrolling the children in time consuming extracurricular activities such as competitive sports such as soccer, baseball, softball, equestrian events – all of which can require extensive practices and travel; or giving them expensive toys which can only be used at that parent’s house.
In addition, some parents use their children to communicate to the other parent. Our Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediators have heard parents state that the other parent gave our children my child support check and said “please give this to you mom or dad” and then says “can you believe just how much I pay every month?”.
Instead, our Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediators tell both parents that they should make their time-sharing with their children feel normal like it did when their parents were together. There is nothing wrong with a parent just hanging out with their children.
Another important aspect to following a time-sharing schedule is to be flexible because as children get older, they sometimes set their own events some of which may interfere with the one parent’s schedule. When a parent is inflexible, it can have a negative impact on that parent’s relationship with his or her children.
Although our Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediators at Mediation of Coral Springs, Inc. are unable to give legal advice, we are able to discuss issues such as the ones outlined above as we try to seek resolution of the issues that are related to their Florida Family Law disput.