The divorce process can take a considerable amount of time. If there are disputed issues, divorce can take years to be fully finalized. While you and your former spouse are working out the details, you may wonder how the process will affect your children and your ability to spend time with them.
Your Legal Rights During Divorce
Technically, while your divorce is pending, both you and your former spouse will have the same legal rights to your kids as you had before the divorce. Both parents are on the same legal ground until one or both of them is ordered to change their rights by the Court.
Unfortunately, there are situations where parents take the children out of the home and refuse to let the spouse see them during the divorce. This practice is not only hard on the children during this difficult time, but it is also not legally permitted under Florida law. If this is happening to you, speak with a family law attorney immediately. There are steps you can take to get visitation with your children, even before the Court enters a formal custody or visitation order.
If your children have been kept from you, it is a good idea to take action. If you choose to do nothing, the Court may see this as an indication that you do not want to be involved in your children’s lives, even if that is not the case.
Temporary Orders for Child Custody
While your divorce is pending, the judge may enter a temporary order regarding child custody. This temporary order will stay in place until a permanent order can be determined.
The temporary order will set out where the child will live, who will make decisions on the child’s behalf regarding care, education, and other vital aspects of the child’s life, and when visitation will take place. The temporary order is designed to only be a temporary solution, but it will often influence the judge’s decisions when he or she creates the final orders regarding your parenting plan.
The permanent order will only be issued when the judge enters the final judgment in the case. That means that all matters have been resolved (either through negotiations or court order), including property distribution disputes.
Temporary Orders and Permanent Orders
In many cases, the temporary order will become the permanent order or will be very similar to the permanent order. If the temporary order seems to be working for both parents and the children, the judge will often be inclined to enter that arrangement as the permanent order as well. Judges understand that children do better when they have stable arrangements, both during and after divorce. Disrupting a child’s routine to make changes to the order may end up doing more harm than good in some situations.
Because of the Court’s tendency to use the temporary order as the permanent order, you should not take the temporary order lightly just because it is temporary. You should make efforts to get the type of visitation and custody that you would want on a permanent basis.
A family law attorney can help you through this process. Contact us for more information about how we can help.