Successful Timesharing in Divorce: Nurturing a Healthy Co-Parenting Relationship

Divorce is an emotionally challenging process for any couple, especially when minor children are involved. As parents, it is our utmost responsibility to prioritize the well-being and safety of our children, even amidst the difficulties of Separation. One key aspect of Post-Divorce life is establishing successful Timesharing or Child Custody arrangements that promote stability, consistency, and a healthy Co-Parenting relationship. Our Central Florida Family Law Attorneys are committed to exploring essential strategies and guidelines mentioned below to help our Clients achieve successful Timesharing in a Divorce, and a positive environment for their children’s growth and development.

Open and Honest Communication:
The foundation of any successful Co-Parenting relationship is effective and open communication. Despite the personal differences that led to the Divorce, it is crucial to establish clear and respectful channels of communication with your former spouse or other parent. In situations where it is appropriate, discuss your children’s needs, schedules, and any concerns that may arise. Keep the lines of communication open and focused solely on the children, allowing them to feel secure and loved by both parents.

Consistency and Flexibility:
Consistency is imperative when it comes to Timesharing. Establishing a Timesharing schedule will provide stability for your children. Sticking to the agreed-upon times and dates, documented in your Parenting Plan will show that both parents are committed to its success. However, it is important to be flexible and understanding when unexpected circumstances arise. Be willing to accommodate reasonable requests for adjustments, as it demonstrates grace and a willingness to prioritize the children’s best interests.

Prioritize the Children’s Well-being:
Our Team encourages Clients to prioritize the well-being of minor children above personal disagreements or conflicts with their Co-Parent. After all, a nurturing and positive environment may foster healthy relationships with both parents. While speaking negatively about your former spouse or other parent in front of the children can cause emotional distress and impact their self-esteem. Instead, focus on developing an atmosphere of love, respect, and support for your new family dynamic.

Cooperation and Collaboration:
Successful Timesharing requires a cooperative and collaborative approach from both parents. Shared Parental Responsibility allows both parties to make joint decisions regarding the children’s education, health, and extracurricular activities. In cases where both Co-Parents are solution oriented and able to engage in productive discussions, all opinions and input are heard. By presenting a united front as Co-Parents, you demonstrate to your children that their needs and well-being are the top priority.

Be Mindful of Transition Periods:
Navigating life between households can be challenging for children. Transitions can be made smoother by planning ahead and communicating with your children about what to expect. If both households offer familiar items and routines, a sense of security is more likely. Depending on their ages, sense of understanding and specific needs, provide the children with reassurance and support.

Seek Professional Support:
Divorce can be draining for both parents and minor children. If necessary, consider additional support from Family Therapists, Counselors, or Clergy. These professionals can offer guidance and help resolve conflicts amicably. Their expertise can also help address any emotional challenges your children may face during the Divorce process. Each of our Orlando Divorce Attorneys recognize the value of Mental Health advocates and often provide referrals to trusted Therapists in our community.

By following the above strategies and guidelines, you may establish a healthy Co-Parenting relationship that nurtures your children’s growth and happiness. Remember, the Divorce or Final Judgment of Paternity may have ended your Marriage or time living together, but it doesn’t have to diminish your role as loving and responsible parents. With open communication, consistency, collaboration, and a child-centric approach, you have an opportunity create a bright and fulfilling future for your children, even in such a vulnerable season.

Should you have any questions regarding Timesharing, formerly known as Child Custody, contact The Marks Law Firm, P.A. at 407-872-3161 to schedule a Consultation.

Is Sole Custody Possible in a Family Law Case?

Are you in the middle of a custody battle with your spouse or former spouse? Perhaps you are wondering if you can be awarded sole custody of your minor child or children. In recent years, the Florida statutes began referring to child custody as “timesharing” or contact. The legislature felt like the term custody or visitation was more applicable to hospital or jail visits.

Often times, Family Law Clients come to our firm and ask about sole custody. Florida utilizes the following terms: sole parental responsibility and shared parental responsibility. You may be wondering what each of these terms mean. Sole parental responsibility relates to decision making for the minor child or children. A Client who is awarded sole parental responsibility makes all the major decisions affecting the welfare of the minor children.

Cases with shared parental responsibility allow each parent equal decision making regarding all the major choices impacting the welfare of the minor children. Examples include, but are not limited to education, medical, religion, extracurricular activities, etc.

When Family Law Clients consider custody (timesharing), they are mostly concerned about where the minor child or children will live. Visitation (contact) relates to living arrangements. There are certain cases where a Client may be determined to have his or her children live with him or her exclusively, and not with the other parent. However, this outcome is highly unlikely. Special circumstances where the other parent has a criminal record, felony convictions, history of alcohol/drug abuse, etc. or is a registered sex offender that would show detriment to the minor children.

One possible solution that would allow both parents to be involved in the lives of the children is known as supervised timesharing. Family Ties is a facility in Orange County that allow deputies to oversee timesharing on weekends. Doing so, ensures that the parent who has a limited amount of supervised timesharing is observed and watched very carefully while he or she is interacting with the minor children. There are also less restrictive forms of supervised timesharing.

Ultimately, it is very difficult to be awarded sole custody in Florida. Keep in mind, there are other options, even in a situation where timesharing is awarded to the other parent. Many people believe that 50/50 timesharing is presumed in the Florida Statutes. However, Florida Statue 61.13 sub factors A through T cover 20 factors that the court must consider in every timesharing (custody) case. Thus, 50/50 timesharing is not automatically awarded.

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Do you have questions regarding timesharing in your Family Law case? Our experienced Family Law Attorneys are here for you. To set up a consultation, call our office at (407) 872-3161.

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How to Navigate Timesharing Conflict as the Pandemic Continues

As the pandemic continues, former spouses with minor children may be struggling to maintain and agree on their Timesharing arrangements. Our experienced Family Law Attorneys are seeing a significant increase in conflict as it relates to Timesharing as well as disputes regarding school, whether in person or virtual and regarding travel with the minor children to social events, extended family gatherings, friends’ homes or vacation.

While the severity of the virus seems to fluctuate depending on the location and timing, it is not surprising to see child custody situations where one parent is perhaps hyper vigilant regarding the Coronavirus pandemic and the other parent has a more laissez-faire response to it. These opposite viewpoints create conflict easily.

In terms of prioritizing both mental and physical health before, during, or after a pandemic, our Team is committed to demonstrating that healthy co-parenting is what is most important and best for any children involved. Above all else, we choose to focus on the best outcome for the family overall and of course the best interest of the minor children.

In situations where former spouses cannot come together to co-parent as a team, it might be beneficial to seek co-parenting therapy with a licensed mental health counselor to help guide them through this difficult time.

We know several highly qualified licensed mental health therapists and psychologists able to help in the situations if anyone needs a referral.

There are also extreme cases where sometimes court intervention becomes necessary. However, because the legal process can be cumbersome even in normal times, it may not prove to be a timely solution, especially now in abnormal times. However, we have had success in getting the court to order expedited hearings.

Seeking alternative conflict resolution methods, such as mediation, settlement conferences and co-parenting therapy to avoid the legal system, if possible, can be effective.

Our attorneys are available and willing to help resolve these areas of conflict in a peaceful and amicable way. By doing so, our hope is that both parties avoid an unnecessary legal battle, which may result in potential harm to the minor children. However, sometimes if the parties are unable to agree, court intervention becomes necessary.

Contact us today if you are in need of assistance with a family law matter. We are accepting new Clients and remain available to serve you.

Photo Credit: Juliane Liebermann via Unsplash.

Coronavirus: The Impact on Timesharing (Child Custody)

On behalf of all of us here at The Marks Law Firm, P.A. we hope that you and yours are doing your best to stay healthy and safe.

We would like to inform you that the Ninth Judicial Circuit has entered an Amended Emergency Temporary Order related to timesharing for cases in progress and it also applies to cases in which a Final Judgment has been entered. For your convenience, we have included a copy of the Order below.

Amended Emergency Temporary Standing Order

In addition, we have copied and pasted the portion related to timesharing and shelter in place orders as follows:

In the event the Governor of Florida and/or any other government official issues an order that requires parties to “shelter in place,” the parties are to discuss where the child(ren) are in the best position to meet the requirements of their school, remain with siblings if possible, and be safe. If the parties cannot agree, the parent with the majority of timesharing (183 over nights) shall keep the child(ren) until the shelter in place order is lifted, or a Court Order is entered. The Court will have jurisdiction to consider all appropriate remedial measures, including make-up timesharing, once Emergency Orders and Procedures are lifted and the Courts return to normal operations. Parties are to resume time sharing as outlined in paragraph “c” above once the shelter in place orders are lifted. This shall continue until the parties are able to secure hearing time with the Court to address possible, make up timesharing.

At this time, both Orange and Osceola Counties have entered shelter in place orders and the Amended Administrative Order would be effective for ongoing cases or Judgments entered by the Ninth Judicial Circuit.

As our firm is able to stay open as an essential business, we remain available to aid our Clients.

Should you have any questions, please call our office at (407) 872-3161.

Photo by Benjamin Manley on Unsplash



Four Reasons to Thank Your Stepdad This Father’s Day

We live in a time where many families include stepparents, so it is important that we honor them on holidays as well. This Father’s Day let’s take a moment to celebrate and show gratitude to the father figures in our lives.

Stepfathers especially deserve recognition for their role in the lives of children. To our stepdads, on Father’s Day and every day, we thank you for…

Being patient: Children of divorce may be hesitant to accept new relationships. Even in situations where both parents have moved on, it may take several months for children to adjust to their new normal.

Showing up: While many divorce cases involve two co-parents who are committed to playing an active role in the lives of their children, life gets in the way. Often, stepfathers help with homework, transportation, meals, etc.  The little things leave a lasting impact and are worthy of appreciation.

Respecting boundaries: Perhaps the children’s father is involved in their daily lives. Knowing when to step in and when to allow co-parents to make decisions regarding the children’s best interest requires humility.

Creating new traditions: At first, adapting to new living arrangements and blending families may not be easy. However, with change comes the opportunity to start fresh.

Visit our Pinterest page for more on the impact of stepparents, co-parenting strategies, transitioning to a blended family, etc.

Happy Father’s Day to all dads!  YOU are important!

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Three Ways to Support Single Moms This Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is around the corner. On this day, many families are intentional about catering to the matriarch of their home. What about single mothers? In our society today, many retailers and companies feature ideal gift ideas for mom. While many of those ideas are centered around two parent households, it is important to consider the needs and wants of single mothers as well.

Is there a single mom in your life who would benefit from an act of kindness? Are you unsure of what she might want or need? Do you want to show her support? Even small gestures can make a difference this Mother’s Day.

  1. Pray for her. Being a single parent can be challenging and lonely, especially for new moms. Offer empathy and pray for her patience as she experiences parenthood without a partner. Ask her if she has any specific prayer requests.
  2. Invite her to celebrate with you. If you are planning to spend the day with your family, suggest she tag along. Open your home to her if you are staying in. This can be especially welcoming for single mothers who are unable to share the day with their children due to timesharing arrangements.
  3. Prepare a meal for her family. Perhaps she is able to celebrate with her children. As the end of the school year approaches, she may be putting their needs above her own wishes for the holiday. Find an easy recipe that she might enjoy. Surprise her with it and allow her to have one less task on her to do list.

If you or someone you know is a single mother, who is navigating the challenges of parenthood alone, we invite you to visit our Therapists Corner column for more insight.

Five Steps to Navigating the Holidays After a Divorce

Five Steps to Navigating the Holidays After a Divorce

The holiday season is often filled with joy, quality time with family, friends and loved ones, and celebrating our Savior. However, for families who are recovering from a divorce, the holidays can also be met with stress, anxiety, and even sadness. Traditions may come to an end. Parenting Plans and Timesharing agreements impact co-parents, children and members of extended family.

Although it may seem overwhelmingly difficult to even consider how you will survive the holidays after a divorce, we encourage you to have faith and be patient with yourself, the situation and your former spouse.

  1. Maintain Communication: Perhaps you are struggling to remain on speaking terms with your former spouse, due to differences of opinion, misunderstandings, or conflict in general. Look into various options to remain connected when necessary. There are many apps and technology methods available to assist co-parents. In situations where young children are involved, it is imperative for everyone to be on the same page.
  2. Be Mindful of Spending: It is no secret that the costs associated with divorce may impact savings, retirement plans, and other assets. While the holidays cause businesses to target consumers with sales and new product releases, implementing a budget will help you keep track of expenses and lessen your financial burden. Try to focus on the needs of your family versus the wants you can do without.
  3. Manage Expectations: This is especially important for families with children. A year ago, you may not have anticipated the end of your marriage. Once you are able to accept your new reality, coping should come more naturally. Remain upfront with your children about how they will be celebrating each holiday and assure them that your family is still a priority.
  4. Plan Ahead: With the contents of your parenting plan and specifics of your timesharing schedule, both you and your former spouse have the opportunity to make necessary arrangements to make the most of the holidays. Consider how your personal and professional commitments may be affected.
  5. Practice Self Care: Going through a divorce is an emotional journey. Let yourself prioritize your own best interests as well as your children’s. Taking care of ourselves is not selfish, doing so allows us to better serve others.

If you are unsure about how to approach the upcoming holiday season with your former spouse, call us to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced Orlando Family Law Attorneys.


Co-parenting: How to Prepare for the School Year

For our children, it may seem as though summer just started. Department stores, television commercials, print advertisements, etc. remind us that the back to school season is on the horizon. Children and parents who are readjusting from a divorce, may experience more anxiety than typical concerns students have prior to the first day.

If you are attempting to balance the pressures of the upcoming school year along with easing into a co-parenting arrangement, we assure you, it is possible. While doing so may be challenging and emotional, communication and planning will benefit everyone involved.

Clearly Identify Responsibilities

Depending on the specifics of your parenting plan, both you and your former spouse may be expected to financially contribute to your child’s supply needs. In addition to the costs associated with back to school season, transportation and meals should be accounted for. We shouldn’t assume that carpooling arrangements will be the same as prior school years as professional commitments change and availability may be impacted. Remember, it is imperative to be upfront with what is expected of each parent prior to the first day of school.

Keep a Written or Digital Record of Schedules

Classes, extracurricular activities, tutoring, volunteering, etc. vary depending on your child’s needs and interests. With other responsibilities, it can be easy to lose track of events. Maintaining an agenda or digital calendar that can be shared with your former spouse will help ensure your kids are present for appointments or other points of interest. This will also eliminate any potential confusion regarding your children’s whereabouts.

Inform Teachers and School Staff of Co-parenting

When you have an opportunity to meet your child’s new teacher, let him or her know of any specific concerns you have regarding your co-parenting arrangement. Most cases resolve with the children staying with one parent for all or much of the school week. However, there are unique situations where the children may need to bring additional belongings to school for extended stays with your former spouse. Divorce comes with many moving parts. Be honest about how your child is handling the transition so that his or her teacher can anticipate any behavioral patterns.

Are you interested in speaking with one of our Central Florida Attorneys regarding your co-parenting concerns? Schedule a consultation here.

Timesharing: Making the Most Out of Your Summer

As your children embrace the start of their summer vacation, they may be wondering what will keep them busy in the coming months. While some parents may play each day by ear, if you adhere to a timesharing schedule, it is especially important to make the most of any quality time with your children. Rather than letting yourself become overwhelmed with uncertainty, be intentional with your time.

Even with the likely time restrictions outlined in your timesharing arrangement, it is still possible to give your children and yourself a memorable and fulfilling summer.

Plan Ahead:

Perhaps there are specific activities your children have expressed interest in doing. Maintain a calendar outlining what you would like to accomplish in your free time together.

Communicate Clearly:

Depending on your situation, regular contact with your former spouse may not be effective. However, it is important to make sure he or she remains in the loop, especially if extended travel is planned. In an effort to remain on the same page and avoid misunderstandings, be honest about your children’s whereabouts.

Have Options:

With hurricane season officially underway, the weather may not always cooperate with beach trips or theme park outings. On days where outdoor fun must be postponed, consider having an indoor picnic or movie marathon.

Seek Learning Opportunities:

Since school is no longer in session, your children may not have access to engaged learning opportunities every day. Research programs at your local library or special summer events at the science center. Learning can be fun for the entire family.

Be Present:

Although your professional commitments may limit your free time during the week, make an effort to give your children undivided attention when your schedule permits. After all, the moments you spend together will become memories. Try not to get caught up in the busy parts of your day. Instead, prioritize a few minutes of quality time with your children as often as possible. Sharing a meal or reading together before bed will show your children that you value your time together.


If you, or your former spouse are struggling with timesharing this summer, schedule a consultation with one of our Orlando Family Law Attorneys today.

Is Parallel Parenting Right for You?

In high conflict cases where former spouses struggle to communicate or agree on what is best for their children, co-parenting can seem like a daunting task. The divorce process is just the beginning. Your marriage may be over, but when you have kids, you will be connected to your former spouse for years to come. While most legal teams make an effort to advocate in the best interest of the children involved, regular communication between former spouses is not always an ideal solution.

Co-parenting vs. Parallel Parenting

Although each approach relies on a timesharing agreement, there are clear differences among the two.

Co-parenting consists of each parent regularly communicating with each other as it relates to their child’s schedule, expenses, academics, health, etc., as well as possibly joining forces for birthdays, school functions, and extracurricular activities. It allows both parents the opportunity to voice concerns directly and in person as situations arise. Decisions regarding the children are made together, rather than by one parent alone.

Parallel parenting is a newer arrangement where former spouses are not expected to be in constant contact with one another . In other words, by utilizing this method to avoid conflict and possible tension, each parent protects the children from the negativity associated with their difficulty to communicate. To decrease the need for communication, decision making may be split between parents. For example, the child’s mother may be responsible for health related choices, while the father may have the final say in regards to after school activities. Over time, some parallel parenting arrangements evolve into versions of co-parenting, as resentment weakens and children become the overall focus.

For those who are interested in pursuing a parallel parenting plan, we encourage you to consider which approach would best fit the needs of your children and new family dynamic. The decision may seem overwhelming at first, but there are a variety of resources available to make the transition to parallel parenting easier.

If you are unsure of which option would work best for your case, we encourage you to contact our office and speak with one of our Central Florida Family Law Attorneys today.