Do you need assistance with a child custody matter in Davenport, FL? If so, Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC is here to provide compassionate and honest guidance.
Our Davenport child custody lawyers have over five decades of combined experience. We opened our law firm in 2012 to help people navigate all types of family law issues, including divorce, child support, custody, and paternity.
Our experienced family law attorneys will ensure that your child’s best interests are protected. Contact our law firm today at (407) 554-9502 to schedule a free initial consultation. During your appointment, you can discuss your situation and objectives with an experienced child custody attorney in Davenport, Florida.
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How Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC Can Help With Your Child Custody Matter in Davenport, FL
Whether you’re in the process of separating or divorcing or want to modify an existing agreement, a child custody battle is an emotional process. It’s best for each parent to agree on specific terms since you know your family better than anyone else. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen, and an attorney’s advice and support is necessary for resolution.
The Davenport family law attorneys at Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC can make this process less stressful. We have an award-winning team of lawyers who understand the impact of child custody decisions. We’ll give your case the attention and dedication it deserves.
If you hire our child custody lawyers in Davenport, FL, we’ll help by:
- Listening to what you hope to achieve at the outcome of your child custody case
- Crafting a customized strategy to help you reach your desired goals
- Communicating with your ex’s attorney
- Helping you and your child’s other parent reach an amicable agreement without court intervention, such as through negotiation and mediation
- Drafting all documents and filings and submitting them to the court
- Advocating for you and your child in court proceedings as necessary
We want to do what’s best in your specific case, whether that means negotiating a shared custody and visitation plan or advocating for sole custody. Call our Davenport family lawyers today to learn more about how we can assist with your legal matter.
An Overview of Florida’s Child Custody Laws
Legal Child Custody in Florida
Legal custody represents a parent’s right to make decisions regarding their child’s life and upbringing. This might include issues pertaining to education, medical care, religion, living arrangements, and more.
Florida courts favor joint legal custody – giving each parent shared parental responsibility – unless it is detrimental to the child. For example, in some situations, a court will grant sole legal custody, such as if a parent is deemed unfit.
If you have joint legal custody, you’ll need to work with your co-parent when making any decisions about your child. That means you must maintain communication with them until – at the earliest – your child is emancipated or graduates from high school.
Physical Child Custody in Florida
Physical custody refers to the parent the child lives with and spends their time with. Similar to legal custody, Florida judges prefer that each parent have continuing and frequent contact with the child and share equally in child-rearing. Thus, the presumption is that equal time-sharing (joint physical custody) is in the best interests of the child.
One parent may spend most of the time with the child. They have primary physical custody and are known as the custodial parent. The child might stay with the other parent (the noncustodial parent), but less often, such as every other weekend.
However, in some situations, a court may grant sole physical custody. That means the child will only live with the custodial parent, and the other parent may or may not be granted visitation rights.
How Do Florida Courts Determine Child Custody?
Parties are encouraged to work out a parenting plan among themselves that meets the child’s and family’s needs. However, if disputes arise as to any visitation terms or if they cannot agree on a custody arrangement, the court will intervene and decide.
The paramount factor in any Florida custody case is the best interests of the child.
When making a custody determination, a judge will consider multiple factors relating to the child’s welfare, including:
- The division of parental duties before and during litigation
- Each parent’s demonstrated ability to continue a parent-child relationship and follow the court-approved time-sharing schedule
- Each parent’s ability to participate in the child’s extracurricular and school activities
- Each parent’s capacity to act on their child’s needs rather than their own
- How long the child has lived in a stable environment and the desire to maintain continuity
- Each parent’s moral fitness and physical/mental health
- The child’s preference (if the court deems them able to express an opinion)
- The child’s community, home, and school records
- Each parent’s knowledge of their child’s daily life, such as their teachers, friends, and activities
- Each parent’s ability to provide a consistent routine for the child
- The willingness of each party to communicate with each other regarding the child’s life
- Any history of domestic violence, child abuse, neglect, abandonment, or sexual violence
- Any history of substance abuse
- Each parent’s capacity to shield the child from the current litigation (e.g., not discussing it in front of the child or talking negatively about the other parent)
- The child’s developmental requirements and each parent’s ability to meet them
A Florida family court judge can also consider other factors that are relevant to your unique situation.
What Is Required in a Florida Parenting Plan?
Florida courts require parties to develop and submit a parenting plan outlining time-sharing and responsibilities. This applies even if nothing is in dispute regarding visitation or custody.
At a minimum, the parenting agreement must describe the following in detail:
- How each parent will be responsible for the upbringing of the child, including daily tasks and activities
- A time-sharing schedule outlining the time the child will spend with each parent, including holidays and school breaks
- Who will be responsible for the child’s healthcare, including decisions regarding treatment
- Who will be responsible for school-related issues, including deciding which school(s) the child will attend and registration
- Who will be responsible for any extracurricular activities the child will participate in (including costs and how they’ll be divided between each parent)
- How each parent will communicate with the child (e.g., by phone, FaceTime, etc.)
Of course, any other relevant information should be included, depending on your child’s specific needs.
Our experienced Davenport family attorneys can help you draft a parenting plan that adequately addresses all issues related to your child. The goal is to limit future potential conflicts and provide as much stability in your child’s life as possible.
We’ll listen to your objectives, including how flexible or structured you want the schedule to be. Then, we’ll work with you and your child’s other parent to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.
If we cannot negotiate a time-sharing schedule out-of-court, we’ll mediate or represent you in court hearings before a judge.
Can I Change the Terms of a Child Custody and Visitation Agreement in Davenport, Florida?
You may be able to modify a child custody arrangement. If the other parent agrees to the modification, you can draft a new agreement and submit it to the court for approval. This is the easiest way to change the terms.
However, the process becomes much more difficult if the other parent objects to the modification. In that case, a judge will require evidence demonstrating a substantial change of circumstances.
Some examples of when a court may grant a modification of a child custody or time-sharing agreement include:
- A parent must relocate for employment or family reasons, such as to care for a sick relative
- A parent keeps violating the terms of the time-sharing schedule
- The child’s needs have shifted, and the order needs to be amended to address the change
- A parent has become abusive, unfit, or neglectful
- A parent fails to supervise or care for the child when they have physical custody
- A parent starts abusing drugs and/or alcohol, affecting the child’s well-being
Regardless of whether you and your ex agree to a child custody modification, it’s best to consult an experienced family lawyer. An attorney can help you draft a new custody agreement that meets all your needs and contains all requirements under Florida law.
Contact Our Law Office For a Free Consultation With an Experienced Davenport Child Custody Attorney
If you need help with a child custody issue in Davenport, Florida, Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC can help. Our experienced child custody lawyers provide assistance to people who are separating, divorcing, relocating, or need a judgment modification.
We’ll provide compassionate support as we walk you through the steps of the legal process. Contact our Davenport child custody attorneys today for a free case evaluation to learn more about an attorney-client relationship.