When people are seeking to gain child custody rights in Florida – whether through divorce, paternity, establishment of parenting plan, grandparent custody, or other proceedings – the first step they usually take is file a petition with the Clerk of the Court.
Generally speaking, this is a mistake.
By filing a petition, they are entering into the public court system which pits mother against father. This is an adversarial system which oftentimes leads parties to engage in emotionally and financially draining court battles, and all dirty laundry gets examined and aired.
But there is another way, a private way of determining parental responsibility and child time-sharing schedules. It is called collaborative practice, also known as collaborative family law.