Child Custody Attorney in Tampa, FL

parent with child

Child custody disputes can be contentious when a couple divorces in Tampa, particularly if one parent thinks the other is unfit to raise their child. When divorcing parents disagree about who is best equipped to assume custody and take care of their child, the courts must find a time-sharing arrangement that best meets the child’s needs.

Even in an amicable divorce, you need an experienced child custody attorney who will stand tough and advocate for your needs and desires as you negotiate custody and visitation arrangements with your estranged spouse. With so much at stake, working with a Tampa child custody lawyer is your best bet to make the process as smooth and calm as possible.

At Florida Law Advisers, P.A., we understand the sensitivity of issues affecting children in a divorce and have substantial experience negotiating child custody agreements as well as fighting cases in court. We want to make the legal process as easy as possible for you and help you reach the best possible outcome for you and your child.

Call us at (844) 698-3765 today or visit our contact page for a free, no-obligation case review with a Tampa child custody attorney. We will take the time to understand your needs so that we can best represent you and protect your rights.

To consult with an experienced Tampa child custody attorney, call: 1 (800) 990-7763

Why You Need a Family Attorney for Your Child Custody Case

In most child custody cases, everyone involved wants what is in the child’s best interests. But emotions run high when a couple divorces, even in a collaborative divorce.

Each party to a divorce should have their own independent family law attorney to advise them and protect their interests during the divorce, particularly when discussing child custody. Even the children subject to a child custody discussion will have the benefit of a guardian ad litem (GAL). A GAL is a neutral third party appointed by the court to represent and advocate for the best interests of the child. The GAL will stand in if the court believes either parent may not adequately represent the child’s best interests.

A family law or divorce lawyer with whom you have engaged has a legal and professional duty to protect your and your child’s interests in a child custody case. By offering a rational perspective not swayed by emotional ties, your attorney can help you make the best decisions for your future and your family’s.

An experienced child custody lawyer from Florida Law Advisers, P.A., can help you and your spouse (and their lawyer) negotiate a parenting plan that will be ratified in family law court as part of your divorce agreement. If necessary, an experienced child custody lawyer from our firm will fight to ensure that your interests are fairly represented in a contested parenting plan settled by the court.

How Florida Law Advisers, P.A., Can Help with Your Child Custody Case

Florida Law Advisers, P.A., is a full-service law firm serving clients in Tampa, Hillsborough County, and Central Florida. Our mission is to deliver high-quality legal representation at a reasonable cost. We understand that clients need solutions when seeking divorce, not steep legal fees. We’re proud to have guided thousands of Florida residents onto the road to a better future.

A divorce agreement is a court order. If child custody is not properly arranged, you could lose the ability to see your children when you want to. Because we at Florida Law Advisers, P.A., fully understand your legal rights under Florida divorce law, we will work diligently to help you make forward-looking decisions regarding your children and having contact with them.

As your attorneys, we will:

  • Discuss your needs, goals, and concerns with you so we can advise you regarding your legal options
  • Investigate and secure documents and evidence you may need to support your desires for a parenting plan
  • Negotiate on your behalf to reach a parenting plan that reflects your desires while being fair to your spouse and meeting your children’s best interests
  • Draft and file documents as required by the court
  • Present your parenting plan for you in court or, if necessary, present your demands and evidence for terms of a contested child custody agreement at trial

Developing a Parenting Plan for Child Custody in Florida

Divorcing parents in Florida are required to execute a parenting plan in all cases involving timesharing with a minor child or children, even when timesharing is not in dispute. “Timesharing” refers to how a court allocates the time children will spend with each of their parents following a divorce.

A parenting plan developed and agreed to by the parents must be approved by the court. If the parties cannot agree to a parenting plan or the court rejects a plan they agreed to, the court will establish a parenting plan with or without using any of the contents of the parenting plan presented to the court.

In addition to the time children will spend with each parent, a parenting plan should spell out at a minimum:

  • How the parents will share and be responsible for the daily tasks associated with raising the children
  • How medical care and insurance will be handled
  • How issues with school matters and extra-curricular activities will be resolved
  • The methods and technologies the parents will use to communicate with the children.

A parenting plan is to take into consideration numerous factors affecting the welfare and interests of the children and the family’s circumstances, as spelled out in Section 61.13(3) of the Florida Statutes, including but not limited to:

  • The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship, to honor the time-sharing schedule, and to be reasonable when changes are required
  • The anticipated division of parental responsibilities after the divorce, including the extent to which parental responsibilities will be delegated to third parties
  • The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to determine, consider, and act upon the needs of the children as opposed to their own needs or desires
  • The length of time the children have lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity
  • The geographic viability of the parenting plan, with special attention paid to the needs of school-age children and the amount of time to be spent traveling to effectuate the parenting plan.
  • The moral fitness of the parents
  • The mental and physical health of the parents
  • The reasonable preference of the children, if the court deems the children to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference

How Does Timesharing Work in Custody Agreements?

When working with one of our child custody attorneys, you’ll benefit from our experience developing parenting plans. We’ll develop a custom plan that fits your family’s needs. We may build upon some standard timesharing strategies, such as:

  • Weekly Exchange – This plan is appropriate for parents with similar work schedules, as it offers stability and a routine.
  • Bi-weekly Exchange – The child stays with one parent for two weeks. This allows busier parents to schedule two weeks of heavier workloads when the child is with the other parent.
  • 2-2-5-5 Schedule – This schedule repeats on a two-week rotation, beginning with two days each, followed by five days each. A variation on the two-week rotation is the 3-4-4-3 schedule.
  • 2-3-2 Schedule – This schedule alternates each week to offer each parent the same number of days.

Holidays are scheduled separately and may simply be rotated year after year, or the plan may allow for one parent’s tradition of more elaborate celebrations. The goal is to keep both parents equally involved in the child’s life as long as that is beneficial for the child. Our attorney will work to promote negotiations centered on a reasonable and considerate give-and-take as timesharing and a parenting plan take shape.

How Do I Get Full Custody of My Children in Florida?

A court will grant shared parental responsibility (joint custody) unless the court determines that it will be detrimental to the child’s interests.

If there is a history that might persuade the court to award sole custody, you and your attorney might convince your spouse not to oppose your request for sole custody of your children. A court would likely be persuaded by:

  • Child abuse or other domestic violence
  • Abandonment or neglect
  • Irresponsible use (i.e., leading to arrests and/or injury) or addiction to alcohol or drugs
  • Other criminal behavior
  • Infidelity that includes cohabitation during your separation
  • Similar issues

If you and your spouse cannot agree, you will have to persuade the court that it is not in your children’s best interest to award joint custody and that doing so would actually have a negative impact on your child. You would do this by providing evidence of abuse, abandonment, infidelity, criminality, etc., in the form of testimony and tangible records, such as photos, arrest records, or protective orders previously obtained against your spouse.

You will also be asked to demonstrate that your assumption of sole parental responsibility is in the best interests of the child. You’ll need to persuade the court that your home is a safe and nurturing environment for the child. Further, you must convince the court that you intend to be active and involved in decisions about your child’s daily life, schooling, health care, and extra-curricular activities, among other things.

When you meet with an attorney from Florida Law Advisers, P.A., we will discuss the requirements to get custody of a child and how we may help with your situation.

Overview of Florida Law on Child Custody Agreements

Florida law refers to “custody” as “parenting time” or “timesharing.” Regarding child custody disputes in Florida, the overriding principle the courts are supposed to follow is to do what is in the child’s best interests. Essentially, the courts are looking for the child’s parents to create a plan that ensures the child’s needs are met, the child has a stable home, and both parents have time with the child.

The problem is that parents may disagree on what is in the child’s best interests and who is best prepared to care for the child. While the courts generally prefer that both parents have custody of a child after a divorce, they will not place a child in danger by having the child spend time with an irresponsible or unsafe parent. If the parents cannot reach a custody agreement on their own or the proposed agreement is not acceptable to the courts, it’s up to a judge to decide which parent will have custody.

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What Are the Factors in Determining Child Custody?

Florida law outlines the factors the courts must consider when making custody decisions. Those factors include:

  • Each parent’s desire to take care of the child and maintain the parent-child relationship
  • Each parent’s desire and ability to share responsibilities and follow agreed-upon timesharing schedules
  • Each parent’s ability to care and provide for the child
  • The child’s age
  • How much time the child has spent in their current home
  • The child’s medical, educational, and other needs
  • Any evidence or history of domestic abuse in the household
  • Each parent’s ability to communicate with the other and do what’s best for the child
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How Can a Child Custody Order Be Modified?

You can file a petition with the Florida courts to modify a custody order, but the courts will not modify an order simply because you don’t like the current custody arrangement.

To modify a child custody order, you must show how a substantial change in the child’s circumstances has impacted the existing custody arrangement. Alternatively, a parent can modify a custody order by showing how changes in their circumstances have affected the child’s life.

In either case, the petitioning parent must establish how changing the custody arrangement will help the child.

Contact Our Tampa Child Custody Lawyers for Help

FLA LogoA family law court hearing divorce pleadings will award custody based on the best interests of the child, and it is up to your attorney to prove to the court that your parenting plan is in the child’s best interests. The child custody attorneys at Florida Law Advisers, P.A., know what courts consider when evaluating the best interest of the child and are skilled advocates. We can help you draft a parenting plan and persuade the court that your plan is in the child’s best interests.

We understand how important child custody matters are to our clients, so we work tirelessly to help ensure our client’s goals are attained. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions about your child custody rights or for more information about our team of professional family lawyers in Florida.

Call or Text 1 (800) 990-7763 or Submit a Consultation Request Form Today