In any action affecting that family, including but not limited to divorce, legal separation, paternity that involves a minor child, the court must issue an order that allocates periods of physical placement of the minor child.
Physical placement is a condition in which a party has the right to have a child physically placed with that party. When a party has physical placement they have the right and responsibility to make routine daily decisions for the child. These decisions should be consistent with the major decisions made for the child by the party or parties having legal custody.
The court shall set a placement schedule that is deemed in the child’s best interest. There is a presumption that is it in a child’s best interest to maximize meaningful placement with each parent. There is no presumption in the law that the parties shall have equal placement. In determining what is in the best interest of the child the court shall consider the following factors in setting a placement schedule:
- The wishes of the child’s parent or parents, as shown by any stipulation between the parties, any proposed parenting plan or any legal custody or physical placement proposal submitted to the court trial.
- The wishes of the child, which may be communicated by the child or through the child’s guardian ad litem or other appropriate professional.
- The interaction and interrelationship of the child with his or her parent or parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest.
- The amount and quality of time that each parent has spent with the child in the past, any necessary changes to the parents’ custodial roles and any reasonable life-style changes that a parent proposes to make to be able to spend time with the child in the future.
- The child’s adjustment to the home, school, religion and community.
- The age of the child and the child’s developmental and educational needs at different ages.
- Whether the mental or physical health of a party, minor child, or other person living in proposed custodial household negatively affects the child’s intellectual, physical, or emotional well-being.
- The need for regularly occurring and meaningful periods of physical placement to provide predictability and stability for the child.
- The availability of public or private child care services.
- The cooperation and communication between the parties and whether either party unreasonably refuses to cooperate or communicate with the other party.
- Whether each party can support the other party’s relationship with the child, including encouraging and facilitating frequent and continuing contact with the child, or whether one party is likely to unreasonably interfere with the child’s continuing relationship with the other party.
- Whether there is evidence that a party engaged in abuse, as defined in s. 813.122 (1) (a), of the child, as defined in s. 48.02 (2) 12m.
- Whether any of the following has a criminal record and whether there is evidence that any of the following has engaged in abuse, as defined in s. 813.122 (1) (a), of the child or any other child or neglected the child or any other child:
- A person with whom a parent of the child has a dating relationship, as defined in s. 813.12 (1) (ag).
- A person who resides, has resided, or will reside regularly or intermittently in a proposed custodial household.
- Whether there is evidence of interspousal battery as described under s. 940.19 or 940.20 (1m) or domestic abuse as defined in s. 813.12 (1) (am).
- Whether either party has or had a significant problem with alcohol or drug abuse.
- The reports of appropriate professionals if admitted into evidence.
- Such other factors as the court may in each individual case determine to be relevant.
The court cannot give preference to one parent over the other on the basis of sex or race of the parent or potential custodian, the extramarital relationships or moral-social values of a parent, the choice of religion, or whether a parent is a service member or may be called to active duty.
If you have questions regarding physical placement of your child or modifying the physical placement of your child contact one to the experienced family law attorneys at Lawton & Cates.