Time Sharing With A Nonbiological Child In Florida
Sometimes as people come together to form a family, they may not always think that it is necessary to formalize all aspects of their familial relationship. In some situations, two people may get married and decide to raise a child together, with one being the biological or adoptive parent of the child, and without the other person formally adopting the child.
The problem with this arrangement arises if the marriage dissolves, and the nonbiological parent attempts to seek custody or parenting time with the child. Because the nonbiological parent never adopted the child, he never gained the kind of status that a biological child or an adoptive parent would have when seeking custody of the child. The nonbiological parents in these kinds of situations are also referred to as de facto or psychological parents.
Under Florida law, the spouse who is the biological parent would be able to take immediate custody of the child, and issues concerning the child would not typically be a part of the divorce unless the nonbiological parent petitions for access to the child. Even if the nonbiological parent raised the child and for all intents and purposes was like a biological or adoptive parent to the child, he may have a difficult time being awarded custody or parenting time with the child after the divorce.
The Florida constitution allows biological and adoptive parents a right to privacy when it comes to raising their children, and this is why it is difficult to challenge the biological parent’s refusal to agree to time sharing with a person who is not the other biological parent. It is only possible to interfere with the biological or adoptive parents’ right to privacy if it is in the child’s best interest to do so. For example, if the child is being neglected or abused.
A psychological or de facto parent may gain time sharing with a former spouse’s children through an agreement between the two parties. If the agreement can be formalized, it may give the psychological parent standing to later contest if the time sharing is restricted or denied. However, an agreement does not mean the biological parent is giving up his constitutional right to privacy. This means that even with an agreement, a court does not have to grant the psychological parent’s petition.
If you are in a blended family that includes children who are not biologically related to both parents, it is always best for the nonbiological parent to consider adopting the children. Although this means that the adopting parent will also become financially obligated to provide for the children, it ensures the nonbiological parent is protected when it comes to seeking time sharing after a divorce.
Contact Us for More Information
If you are going through a divorce in which children are involved, it is important to make sure that you approach the resolution of the issues concerning the children with the child’s best interest in mind. For more information on how you can work out a parenting plan with your spouse as you are going through a divorce, contact our experienced timesharing lawyers at the Law Offices of Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida.