Brandon Legal Group has chosen the winner for our fall scholarship where the deadline to enter was November 30, 2017. Congratulations to our winner, Emina Memic! Emina is studying at St. Petersburg College in their paralegal studies program. You can read her winning essay below about divorce, children, and Florida Law.

Question: If you could change Florida Law regarding divorce and children, what would you change?

Chapter 61 of the Florida Statutes lays out the law in detail regarding dissolution of marriage, child support, and time-sharing. Although Florida has a lengthy statute, it does not cover an important topic that I believe should be included. Besides divorce, child support, and time-sharing, the Florida Statutes should include requirements for dealing with children affected by these situations. If the court really believes in doing what is “in the best interest of the child,” then should they not put more focus on helping children cope with the separation of a family? Children are a crucial part of this world. They develop into future leaders, future success stories, and the future of America. Revising chapter 61 of the Florida Statutes to include children coping mechanisms should be a must to strengthen the future of these children, as well as America.

Unfortunately, many marriages end in the United States, which leads to broken families. Most often, parents do not realize how the divorce affects their children. The Florida Statutes contains a section that discuss child support guidelines. Child support is a monetary payment to one spouse to help support the child. Usually, the spouse that makes the most money is the one that pays child support. Now, the money does help support the child, but only with the necessities for human life. This type of support helps feed the child, shelter the child, clothe the child, etc. The problem with this is that monetary support does not help the child cope with all this new change. Young children cope with the breaking of their families through emotional ways. They cannot understand what child support is, and that it helps pay for the things they need. Children need love, affection, and a lot of time spent with their families to be able to feel like everything is okay. The statute should include some sort of requirement for parents and children to help cope with the emotional journey of a divorce. The statute could add a counseling requirement for children or an activity that both parents can agree to attend together and remain civil during that activity. I truly believe that would be in the best interest of the child.

Time-sharing is discussed under the parenting plan section, and is supposed to create a way that the child can spend time with both parents. Time-sharing can be extremely difficult on children’s behavior regardless of how much time is spent with each parent. A child who is used to both parents being in the same house, and suddenly must move back and forth between parents, will drastically change their behavior. Now, I have witnessed this behavior myself in my mother’s home day care. Our day care has a capacity of six children at a time, and almost every single one of them come from a broken home. Usually, the parents are together when they first come in our care, and then the parents become divorced. Often, a child’s behavior changes based on which parent they spend time with. Some parents are more lenient, while others are stricter. Some parents give their child a set daily schedule, while other parents do not. This shift in discipline and schedule can really affect the behavior of a child. The child becomes more aggressive and undisciplined, causing more problems as they get older. The Florida Statute that discusses time-sharing, should include and develop a plan for children to be able to deal with this change and prevent aggressive behavior. They can include the following; counseling for children and parents, an expressive activity, such as art, music, or dance, and even strategies to help deal with anger when they feel it. This could help many children cope with a big loss in their lives.

Although I do believe the Florida Statutes does a good job explaining divorce, child support, and time-sharing, it needs work in knowing how to get help for children. The courts always talk about doing what is in the best interest of the child, but if that was the case, there would be rules in place to help children cope. Children often go through this big change during a crucial time in their lives. They are in the stage of getting to know who they are, and understanding the world. Their brains have not fully developed, so it is important to preserve the future of children. They are too young to be thinking about ways to cope themselves; it is our job to protect these innocent lives and prepare them for any situation they might be in.

Congratulations again, Emina for winning our fall scholarship! If you would like to apply for our scholarship opportunity that is open to both law students and paralegal studies students in Florida, please visit our scholarship page.

It is important to note that the essay above is NOT written or endorsed by Brandon Legal Group, and does not represent legal advice.

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