Florida Child Custody Attorneys
Custody Lawyers that Prioritize Your Family
Our team of attorneys knows the painful and consequential realities child custody litigation brings. At The Virga Law Firm, members of our legal staff have personal experience with child custody proceedings. Many are co-parents familiar with the emotional tribulations a child custody case brings.
Whether going through a divorce or needing paternity establishment post-separation, let our compassionate Florida child custody attorneys defend your parental rights. With our experience and compassion, you do not have to face this emotionally turbulent time alone.
Understanding Florida's Child Custody Laws
In the state of Florida, custody is based using the legal standard of, “the best interest of the child.” Measured through a number of factors, the court’s decision regarding child custody between the parents directly relates to the welfare of the child. Specifically, the court will decide on a custody (a/k/a, “time-sharing”) schedule and the division of parental responsibilities that will best suit the child's interests and foster a relationship between parents and their children.
The time-sharing schedule will detail how long each parent spends with the child and any conditions. Parental responsibilities involve decision-making aspects of the child’s life. Some of these areas include: healthcare provider, educational path, and out-of-school activities. The associated financial responsibility associated with these will be divided according to the court’s determination. Furthermore, the parental agreement is enforceable and it must be followed when both parents disagree.
Not all cases need to be tried before a judge. In many cases where both parties remain amicable and cooperative, neither spouse ever enters a courtroom. With your child’s best interest in mind, our Child Custody Attorneys can draft an agreement that meets your legal objectives. We will negotiate the creation of a mutually agreed upon parenting plan and submit it on your behalf. Allow The Virga Law Firm to assist you in avoiding the courtroom completely.
Time-Sharing Determination in Florida
Family law in the state of Florida has changed over time. What the general population once knew as “custody” no longer exists. In 2011, Governor Rick Scott (R-FL) signed a bill into law that changes the concept of custody into two separate ideas. Now, Florida considers two subsidiary factors: parental responsibility and parental time sharing. Under this new approach, no parent is entirely removed from either aspect, unless rare circumstance necessitates such for the child’s welfare or safety. The legal terminology better reflects the court's focus on what is best for the child.
When determining time-sharing, your child’s best interests are made primary by both our legal team and Florida courts. We analyze a number of factors to present the best possible case for your parental rights and your child’s welfare.
The factors we will consider include:
- Child’s Education and School Location - Your child’s educational development and environment are considered in terms of his/her best interests.
- Current And Proposed Living Arrangements - Your child’s existing living environment may be looked at as well as any future post-resolution arrangements.
- Financial Situation Of Parents - The court will evaluate the financial situation of both parents. This will take into consideration any child support and employment factors.
- Evaluation of Parental Plan - The parental plan reflects the parent’s priorities in regards to their child. Courts can use this to help determine parental ability.
- Physical And Mental Health Of Parents - If the physical or mental health of a parent could negatively affect a child’s welfare, it will be considered by the court.
- Parental Involvement - The opinion of the child’s educators and the family’s associates may be considered.
- Parental Flexibility - The willingness to adapt to shifting parental responsibilities could be evaluated in terms of your child’s best interests.
- Evidence Of Domestic Violence - The safety of your child is a critical consideration. Accusations and evidence of violent crimes will be analyzed. If it is determined that safety is an issue, supervised visitation may be ordered.
We understand the importance of developing a parenting plan that defends your child’s welfare and your legal rights. We are focused on developing a time-sharing schedule that best displays your ability to raise your child in a loving and safe environment.
Parental Responsibility Determination in Florida
Parental Responsibilities deals with the decision-making aspects of your child’s upbringing. In 21st century law, parents can share parental responsibility regardless of the child’s physical location. According to Florida statute, the areas of responsibility are: education, healthcare, and “other responsibilities that the court finds unique to the family.” We will work with you to develop a plan that reflects your goals and provides for your child’s best interests.
Florida law provides three forms of parental responsibility:
- Shared Parental Responsibility - This is the most common form of parental responsibility. Both parents must confer with one another and come to a mutual agreement on all decisions pertaining to the child. Should the parents fail to come to terms on a matter, they must return to court.
- Shared Responsibility with Ultimate Decision-Making Authority - In this case, both parents are still expected to confer with one another for all decisions. However, one parent is granted the final authority on all decisions should both parties fail to reach an agreement.
- Sole Parental Responsibility - This is the most uncommon form of parental responsibility. If shared responsibility is determined to negatively impact a child’s welfare, one parent may be granted sole decision-making authority. Often, this occurs when one parent is in jail, addicted to drugs or alcohol, or poses a risk of harm to the child or co-parent.
Our team of Florida child custody attorneys understand the complex and emotional aspects involved with child custody cases. Through in-depth analysis, dedicated preparation, and personal professional experience, The Virga Law Firm can help you accomplish your legal goals both inside and out of the courtroom.
Let our legal team advocate for your child’s best interests, call to schedule a consultation today.