There is no such thing as a perfect parent. Every mother and every father has character flaws and the capacity to make a mistake, but none of this makes someone a bad parent. However, it can certainly feel like this when you are going through a divorce and must create a parenting plan.
During the creation of a parenting plan, the courts will examine many factors that will help them decide on an arrangement that reflects the best interests of a child. Between this assessment and allegations your ex might be making against you, it can be easy to feel nervous about how you are portrayed as a parent. To allay some concerns, we will explore some potential factors that might work against a parent during this process to help you prepare.
Florida courts look at 20 different factors when they are deciding on parenting time to assess what is in a child’s best interest. Therefore, the following elements or behaviors could paint a parent in a more negative light.
- Not showing an interest in the parent-child relationship
- Failure to put a child’s needs above your own desires
- Physical or mental health problems
- A child’s preference toward the other parent
- An unwillingness to communicate with the other parent
- History of physical, mental or sexual abuse or neglect
- Making false statements in court
- Failure to show interest or be involved in a child’s life
- Addiction to drugs, alcohol and/or other substances
- Inability to meet a child’s developmental needs
Each of these perceived problems can affect a court’s decision on how or if to assign parenting time to someone. Generally speaking, falling short in one area won’t have a drastic impact on a court’s opinion, but it will be crucial to be honest with yourself and consider where you could improve as a parent.
There are many ways you can do this, and your attorney can help you figure out which steps you can take to address potential issues and make positive changes. At the end of the day, a parenting plan will reflect what is in your child’s best interests and working to be the best parent for your child is the best thing you can do.