Change may be on the horizon for parents who are struggling over the care and custody of shared children. A measure that would change the way that family courts approach child custody has passed through the Florida Senate, and it is now headed for the House. The issue has sparked a great deal of debate across the state, and it could bring many child custody cases back before the courts, if the measure is eventually signed into law.
The proposed legislation would direct family law judges to approach all child custody cases with the presumption that it is in the best interests of a child to spend equal time with both parents. Those who support the law claim that it will put fathers on equal footing within child custody cases. They believe that children should be able to spend the same amount of time with both parents, and not have their relationship with one relegated to every-other-weekend status.
Those who are against the change argue that child custody is a complex issue, and that family courts should be given the discretion to award the bulk of custody rights to the parent who is best able to provide care for the child. Beginning from a position of 50/50 custody means that the parent who has shouldered the burden of caring for a child during a marriage would have to fight in court to be able to retain that position. In addition, many feel that this change would put many women at a disadvantage, and force them to hire an attorney and head back to court to fight their custody cases once again.
As the matter moves forward in the Florida legislative process, many parents will continue to follow the issue. Should the measure be signed into law, some believe that the courts will be flooded with cases in which parents are seeking a new approach to their child custody arrangements. People on both sides of the issue hold strong beliefs, and it is expected that this debate is far from over.
Source: palmbeachpost.com, “Child custody changes sweep through Florida Senate, amid fears it will hurt families“, John Kennedy, Feb. 23, 2016