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Support, custody arrangements in child's best interests

Florida families may be interested in an opinion piece on how best to deal with child custody and visitation issues when parents separate. In an online article, a senior policy analyst with the Center for American Progress's poverty and prosperity program says that more reforms are needed in this area.

Many parents who are divorcing usually set up arrangements for child custody and support, but not all parents do this. Plus, some parents who share children never married. Since there was no need for a divorce, they may not make arrangements for their children. The analyst also noted that child custody and support arrangements are not common for black families, with only 48 percent of parents making arrangements for their children's welfare. Obtaining government benefits may require a child support agreement, but they generally do not address visitation arrangements.

Visitation and custody arrangements are especially important to low-income and black families, the analyst said, as children from these families are less likely to live with both parents. The Obama administration has proposed integrating visitation requirements into custody and support arrangements, but more reforms must take place before this can happen, she concluded.

Divorce is a traumatic event for both parents and their children. While Florida courts favor shared parenting duties, this may not always be possible or achieved in a cooperative spirit when it is. A child custody lawyer may be able to help parents work out an agreement for child support and determining which parent the child will spend the most time with.

Source: Washington Informer, "Putting the Spotlight on Family Law Legal Needs", Joy Moses, September 17, 2013

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