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  • Dr. Liliana Wolf

Florida divorce with child: what every parent needs to know about child custody laws.

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

Divorce is a challenging process, especially when children are involved. While each state has laws regarding divorces with children, the ultimate objective remains consistent across

jurisdictions: prioritizing the child's best interests. This blog post delves into how Florida

approaches child custody matters when parents opt for divorce. By shedding light on Florida's approach, we aim to highlight the importance of prioritizing the child's well-being throughout the process.

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Florida divorce process

First things first: there is no child custody in Florida divorce laws.

You heard me right; based on Florida divorce statutes, there is no custody, primary residential parent, or secondary residential parent when it comes to divorcing parents.

The change in wording in Florida divorce rules, where the term "custody"; is no longer used, is primarily driven by a favorable shift in the legal, social, and psychological understanding of parenting after separation or divorce. This change aims to promote more cooperative and collaborative co-parenting, focusing on the child's interests rather than those of the parents'.

Why this change regarding divorce laws in Florida?

The term "custody"; has historically been associated with a winner-takes-all mentality, where one parent gets sole custody of their child while the other has visitation rights. You heard right, visitation. As a divorcing parent, would you be ok with just visiting your child? I don’t think so.

The original approach used to be the norm, and you can see why it often elicited an adversarial and contentious environment that would ultimately negatively impact the child. As a South Florida clinician working with children and families for over two decades, I can attest to the fact that staying away from such terminology has fostered a healthier transition into a new family structure where it is easier for most parents to work together for their child's sake.

This change in the Florida divorce process goes beyond a shift in wording; it shows that Florida family law holds a child-centered and collaborative stand when it comes to divorce when there are minor children involved.

Additionally, I bear witness to the fact that removing the term "custody"; has helped to reduce the stigmatization of being labeled the non-custodial parent with all the negative connotations and resulting emotional upheaval. Further, it recognizes that divorcing parents, regardless of gender, can provide love, care, and support for their child and encourages an equal co-parenting relationship where everyone wins.

No more custody, welcome time-sharing, and share parental responsibility.

Laws involving a divorce in Florida with child favor modern and inclusive terms such as time-sharing and shared parental responsibility to highlight both parents'; roles in securing their child's healthy development and that parents should share the rights and responsibilities of raising their child and making decisions together.

Florida law thus encourages parents to develop a parenting plan that outlines the shared

parental responsibility and time-sharing arrangements to follow once the divorce becomes


The parenting plan addresses various aspects, including the child's daily routine, holidays, vacations, communication between parents and child, decision-making processes, and other relevant factors. The court only intervenes to establish a parenting plan based on the child's best interests if the parents cannot reach an agreement.

Overall, the focus of Florida law in family matters concerning a divorce when minor children are involved is to promote co-parenting, shared decision-making, and ensuring that both parents have the opportunity to maintain a meaningful relationship with their child. Custody and visitation have thus become archaic and obsolete terms, preventing parents from effectuating such a vital, healthy transition.

The family stabilization course requirement for parents.

Consistent with this child-centered and collaborative stand in divorce and separation cases,

Florida divorce laws require parents filing for divorce with minor children to sign up for a

Florida parenting class or family stabilization program as this court ordered parenting class is

also known. This mandate aims to support parents in developing the necessary skills,

knowledge, and mindset to co-parent effectively and prioritize their child's best interests while attending to their own needs during such challenging times.

By requiring divorcing parents to comply with this mandate, The State of Florida ensures

parents have the necessary tools to establish a healthier and more stable family environment

for their children during and after divorce. After all, it is all about securing what is best for the


You will be pleased to learn that you can now fulfill the court ordered parenting class requirement 100% online in video format from the comfort of your home, at your own pace, from all devices.

Let me invite you to examine the benefits of taking this Florida Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course.

Florida Parenting Class: A DCF- approved and court-accepted course for divorcing parents in video format and 100% online.

Instant Certificate: Download and print your DCF - Approved Certificate of Completion as soon as you fulfill the 4-hour Florida Statute requirement.

Convenient: 100% Online video-based course: Self-paced available 24/7/365. Log in and out at your leisure from any device, phone, tablet, laptop, PC.

Florida Court-Approved Parenting Class: This course is valid in all Florida Courts. GUARANTEED.

Six-month Access: One low price provides unlimited 180-day access to this course.


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