The child custody laws in Florida always have the best interests of the children involved in the divorce as the number one priority. Several types of child custody arrangements are allowed and one of these is rotating custody.
In a rotating physical custody arrangement, both the physical and legal custody of the child is rotated between the parents. Each parent will have custody of his or her child for three to six months out of the year.
Rotating custody is also known as joint, alternating, divided, split and shared custody. In this type of arrangement, parents have equal child rearing rights and responsibilities, much like they did when they were married, which means that each parent retains the authority to make decisions for their child.
In the past, Florida courts have not been inclined to order rotating custody arrangements, and usually awarded custody to one parent and granted visitation rights to the other parent. However, in 1997, section 61.121, Florida Statutes, was enacted provided that the court may order rotating custody if it is in the best interest of the child.
Rotating custody can be beneficial to both parents and a child in several ways. By spending significant time with each parent, a child will maintain a close relationship. This type of arrangement also makes it easier for both parents to actively participate in the child’s life. A rotating custody arrangement also removes the need for a parent to compete for a child’s custody, thus removing the need for the child to be disloyal and make the decision to choose one parent over the other. Another benefit in this type of arrangement is that a child will be better prepared for future relationships as he has seen both parents assume roles of housekeeper and wage earner.
Parents will also see benefits from the rotating custody arrangement. A parent will not experience the sense of loss of his child and also will not suffer the loss of self-esteem from not being awarded sole custody. Parents in this type of arrangement will not have to shoulder all of the child rearing responsibilities on their own. This type of arrangement will also give parents the much needed time alone to pursue their own individual interests.
When going through a divorce, discuss the different types of child custody arrangements with both your divorce attorney and your soon to be ex-spouse to find the arrangement that will fit both of your needs and will serve the best interests of your children, as well.