When you are fighting for the best interests of your children, it’s important to have a trusted Lakeland child custody lawyer on your side who has your children’s needs as their priority. At Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC, our legal team works with you to help you get the best possible results for you and your children. We treat your case with the respect and attention your family deserves.
At Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC, our lawyers have more than 50 years of combined experience. We provide compassionate, effective, and trusted legal representation. We understand what is at stake in custody cases, so we do not stop fighting until we achieve your desired outcome or exhaust every possible legal option.
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How Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC Can Help With Your Child Custody Case in Lakeland
Are you and your ex-partner arguing about what is in your child’s best interests? It is common for parents to disagree on parenting decisions, especially if they are going through a divorce, paternity suit, or child custody battle. Our Florida divorce lawyers have substantial experience handling all types of child custody cases, including petitioning the court for emergency custody.
Our top-rated Lakeland child custody lawyers have a perfect 10.0 rating on Avvo. They have been named Super Lawyers Rising Stars for six years in a row. Additionally, countless satisfied clients have provided their testimonials praising Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC, for the legal services and support they received from our legal team.
When you hire our award-winning Lakeland family lawyers, you can expect us to:
- Listen to you to learn more about you and your children, including your needs and goals for a custody agreement
- Prepare a parenting plan that works for your situation while maintaining custody terms that are in your child’s best interest
- Use non-adversarial methods to resolve a child custody dispute, including negotiations and mediation
- Handle all matters related to your child custody case, including preparing and filing necessary documents, gathering evidence to support your position, and dealing with all communications with the other side
- Prepare to argue your case before a family law judge in Lakeland, if necessary
Florida judges typically begin child custody cases with a presumption of shared parental responsibility. However, our Lakeland child custody lawyers are prepared to argue for sole custody if that is in your child’s best interest. We diligently pursue a course of action with the best chance of achieving a positive outcome in your case.
Contact Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC, to schedule a free consultation with an experienced child custody attorney in Lakeland, Florida.
Child Custody in Florida
Florida recognizes legal and physical child custody. Legal custody gives a parent the right to make decisions for their child. Decisions include issues that impact the child’s medical care, education, extra-curricular activities, and religious upbringing.
Physical custody refers to who can spend time with a child. Even when custody is shared, a child generally lives with one parent most of the time. This parent is referred to as the custodial parent.
The non-custodial parent may share physical custody with the custodial parent. Still, for stability and continuity, the child spends time with the non-custodial parent based on an agreed parenting plan. Primary custody is where the child spends most of their days and nights.
The court considers the parents’ wishes when deciding legal and physical custody. However, the primary consideration in all custody matters is the best interests of the child.
How Does a Florida Judge Determine What Is in the Best Interests of a Child?
The courts do not favor either parent in custody matters. Both parents begin on an even footing and are presumed to have equal rights regarding their child.
However, if evidence shows that a parent should not have custody, the court can award sole custody to the other parent. Likewise, courts can order supervised, limited, or no visitation with a parent if the judge finds the arrangement is in the child’s best interests.
Parents are encouraged to work together to develop a parenting plan that meets the child’s needs. However, if parents disagree or there are disputes about who should have custody, the judge decides.
Florida law provides factors that judges consider when determining custody cases. Those factors include, but are not limited to:
- A parent’s role in the child’s life before the divorce, how much time the parent spent with the child before divorce, and the parent’s capacity to maintain a close and beneficial parent-child relationship.
- The anticipated division of parental responsibilities, including whether a parent intends to delegate their responsibilities to a third party.
- The length of time a child was in a satisfactory, stable home environment and the desire to maintain that home environment.
- The moral fitness, mental health, and physical health of the parents.
- Whether a parenting plan is viable relative to geographic factors, including the amount of time the child will spend traveling to comply with the parenting plan.
- The child’s school, community, and home record.
- The reasonable preference of a child if the judge deems the child has sufficient experience, understanding, and intelligence to express a preference.
- The capacity and disposition of parents to provide for the child’s needs, including providing consistent routines, appropriate discipline, and daily schedules for meals, bedtime, activities, and homework.
- The willingness and capacity of the parents to keep each other informed of their child’s activities and issues impacting the child.
- Evidence of child abuse, abandonment, neglect, domestic violence, and sexual violence.
- The child’s developmental needs.
Judges may consider factors they deem relevant to determining what is in the child’s best interest. In disputed custody cases, we might retain the services of one or more expert witnesses to assist in preparing evidence to support your position.
What Is a Parenting Plan for an Orlando Child Custody Case?
A parenting plan sets forth how the parents intend to divide parenting responsibilities and time with their children. The parenting plan must identify which parent or parents will have legal and physical custody of the children. It must also include a time-sharing agreement to explain the physical custody arrangements and visitation schedule.
Time-sharing agreements can be one of the most challenging aspects of a parenting plan. Working out an agreeable schedule that works for each parent and is in the child’s best interest can require flexibility and cooperation.
Parents can share time equally or as close to equally as possible. For example, parents might alternate weeks with their children to have an actual 50/50 custody and time-sharing plan.
Some parents find that spending designated days each week with their children works best. Still, other parents might decide a child should stay primarily with one parent and spend every other or every third weekend with the non-custodial parent.
The goal of a time-sharing plan is to allow both parents to maintain a close relationship with their child and play an active role in their child’s life. However, time-sharing and parenting plans must be in a child’s best interest.
Therefore, you can propose a custody plan to the court for consideration. However, the judge could modify the plan if some terms do not benefit the child. For example, the proposed plan requires a child to spend a substantial amount of time traveling back and forth between homes each week.
How Can Our Lakeland Child Custody Lawyers Help You With a Parenting Plan
A parenting plan should limit the disruptions to the child’s life as much as possible. The plan should also help parents and children avoid conflict.
Our Lakeland child custody lawyers at Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC, have extensive experience developing parenting plans and time-sharing schedules that meet the family’s unique needs. Whether you want a highly structured plan or one that is more flexible and allows parents to make accommodations and changes as needed, we can help.
We help you identify your goals, needs, and desires for custody arraignments. We also help you identify what would be in the child’s best interest. Then, we work to develop a parenting plan that addresses all issues.
Modifying Child Custody Agreements in Lakeland, FL
The courts recognize that life changes and specific circumstances could require you to modify your custody agreement. Our Lakeland child custody lawyers can help you petition the court for a judgment modification order.
Typically, judges only grant modifications of child custody for a substantial change in circumstances. Examples of changes in circumstances include:
- A parent becomes unfit or abusive
- A parent refuses to comply with the custody terms
- One parent needs to relocate for their job or family reasons
- The child’s needs have changed and require the court to adjust custody terms to address the new needs
- A parent is failing to provide adequate care and supervision during visitation
You have the burden of proving the change in circumstances warrants modifying custody and that the modification is in your child’s best interest. Contact our office to discuss your situation and how we can help.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Lakeland Child Custody Lawyers
Whether you need to modify an existing child custody order or aggressively fight to obtain sole custody of your child, our Lakeland child custody attorneys can help. With decades of experience, our family law attorneys are prepared to handle all custody situations. Call us today to request a free case review to discuss your case with an attorney.