Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Custody

A Florida child custody case is supposed to result in a parenting plan that is either agreed-to by the parties or ordered by the court when the parties are unable to agree. The parenting plan must be found to be in the best interest of the child, and since none of us can predict the future, the court looks at the present circumstances in determining this best interest. In the case Preudhomme v. Preudhomme, 1D17-1615 (Fla. 1st DCA 2018), the trial court's determination of a future event was reversed for this reason. 

The mother in this case lived in Pensacola, Florida while the father resided out of state in Alabama. While their divorce case was pending, the parties exercised a rotating weekly visitation schedule with their child in which they met halfway for exchange of the child. The child was attending preschool in different states during the period. 

The father argued that the parties should continue the temporary schedule, and then when the child was ready to begin kindergarten, primary timesharing should be awarded to him. The mother opposed this, arguing that instead, she should be granted majority timesharing. The trial court adopted the father's timesharing proposal and the mother appealed. 

In reversing the trial court's decision, the appellate court noted that the trial court engaged in prospective-based analysis which is prohibited. The court reasoned, citing another case, that "a trial court is not equipped with a 'crystal ball' that enables it to prophetically determine" whether any changes would occur in the parties' lives in the interim. The trial court was instructed to delete the portion of its order which granted primary timesharing to the father when the child reached kindergarten age. No doubt, the parties will need to attend court when the child enters kindergarten to litigate this issue further. 

Consult with a Miami child custody lawyer to learn your best options in moving forward with your case.