Whether you’re getting a divorce or need to modify an existing child custody order, it’s important to ensure that your child’s needs are prioritized. Having an experienced Orlando child custody attorney standing beside you throughout the process can help you get the best possible results.
At Conti Moore Law, PLLC, we provide effective and compassionate legal representation that’s backed by more than 50 years of experience.
We understand how incredibly high the stakes are when children are involved. We’re here to help you fight to do what’s best for them. Contact our Orlando, FL law offices at (407) 831-0203 to begin today.
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How Conti Moore Law, PLLC Can Help With Your Child Custody Case
It can be incredibly challenging when parents aren’t on the same page regarding custody of the kids. That’s where our experienced Orlando divorce lawyers can help make the process easier.
Conti Moore Law, PLLC advocates for parents who want to do what’s best for their children. When you hire our law firm, you’ll benefit from more than five decades of experience and an award-winning team of attorneys who are passionate about fighting for your family.
As we move through your child custody case, we will:
- Prepare a parenting plan that reflects the best possible custody arrangement for your child, keeping their health, safety, and overall well-being front and center
- Advocate for non-adversarial approaches to resolving your child custody dispute through tools like mediation
- Handle conversations and negotiations with the other parent’s attorneys or counsel
- Prepare to argue your case before a family law judge in Orlando, if necessary
Our goal is to help you navigate this difficult situation and ensure an outcome that reflects the best interest of your child. Whether that means advocating for sole custody or negotiating the terms of shared parental responsibility, we’ll be there for you every step of the way.
Give our lawyers in Orlando, Florida a call to learn more.
An Overview of Child Custody in Florida
In Florida, child custody ultimately involves two things: legal and physical custody.
Legal custody refers to which parent(s) legally has the right to make decisions about their child’s life. These decisions can impact a child’s education, health care, medical treatment, living situation, and more. Legal custody can be joint (shared by both parents) or sole (enjoyed exclusively by only one).
Physical custody refers to which parent(s) legally has the right to spend time with their children. Like legal custody, it can be shared or sole. In shared cases, one parent will typically have primary custody of a child while the other will have the right to visitation.
All arrangements must be made with the best interests of the child in mind.
How Do Florida Courts Determine the Best Interests of a Child?
Generally, both parents have equal rights when it comes to their children. However, a child’s well-being is more important than a parent’s right to be present in their kid’s life.
When parents cannot agree on parental responsibility or custody, a court will intervene and make sure that a custody agreement reflects the best interests of the child.
Under Florida law, several factors can be considered when determining those interests:
- The role each parent played in their kid’s life before the divorce
- How much time each parent spent with the child prior to the divorce
- Each parent’s capacity to maintain a close parent-child relationship.
- How familiar each parent is with the child’s life and daily routine, including relationships with teachers, caretakers, and friends.
- Whether a parent intends to outsource childcare responsibilities or take them on personally
- Each parent’s living situation, including location and environment
- Each parent’s physical and mental health conditions
- Each parent’s ability to provide for their child financially
- Whether there is a history of abuse or domestic violence
- The developmental needs of the child.
Can a child’s personal preferences be considered when determining what custody arrangement is in their best interests? Yes, as long as the child has the “intelligence, understanding, and experience” to make such a decision. There’s no specific age requirement. Instead, a judge will consider a child’s answer in the context of their overall development.
What is a Parenting Plan?
In Florida, parents who share custody are required to execute a parenting plan. Which is a formal document that sets forth how time-sharing and parental responsibility will work after parents get divorced.
Today, the courts in Florida use terms such as time-sharing, parenting plan, and parental responsibility to refer to custody and visitation cases.
If you and your spouse share children and are getting a divorce in Orlando, a judge will require a finalized parenting plan before the approval of your petition.
It must express:
- Which parent(s) will have legal custody of the child(ren);
- Which parent(s) will have physical custody of the child(ren); and
- A time-sharing agreement reflecting how physical custody arrangements will work.
A parenting plan and time-sharing agreements must reflect the best interests of the child affected. An experienced attorney can help you.
Understanding How Time-sharing Agreements Work
They specify how children will spend time with each parent after a divorce.
In many cases, visitation rights can be highly-structured and mapped out down to the minute, or they can be more loosely defined.
Typically there are two types of agreements: equal and majority/minority.
In equal time-sharing agreements, both parents agree to have the same physical custody of their child (or almost the same) amounts of time.
- Alternating weeks: children spend one week with parent A, then the next week with parent B. This is a 50/50 agreement.
- 3-4-4-3: children spend three days with parent A, then four days with parent B. The next week, the child spends four days with parent A, then three days with parent B.
The goal is to keep both parents equally involved in the child’s life.
In majority/minority time-sharing agreements, one of them (the “custodial parent”) has primary custody of the child. The other one enjoys regular visitation and still sees the kid regularly.
Examples might include:
- The child spends weekdays with parent A and weekends with parent B.
- The child lives with parent A but spends every third weekend with parent B.
- The child spends the school year with parent A but spends the summer with parent B.
The more specific the arrangement, the more likely it’ll be accepted by a court. Regardless of how they’re structured, they should cover things like summer vacations and holiday breaks from school.
How Can a Child Custody Lawyer in Orlando Help Me Create a Parenting Plan and Time-sharing Agreement?
Creating a plan that both parents can agree on can be challenging. Getting an attorney involved can help you better advocate for terms that truly reflect what’s best for your child.
At Conti Moore Law, PLLC, our attorneys will help you build an agreement that:
- Disrupts your child’s life as little as possible
- Ensures that the child is able to spend time with each parent if it’s safe to do so
- Limits conflict
- Is specifically designed to accommodate your unique family
Do you need and want a highly-structured time-sharing agreement that dictates each parents’ time with the child down to the minute?
Or, do you want a more flexible agreement that has room for accommodations or changes, as needed?
We’ll help you identify what you want and what you think will be best for your child. Then, we’ll design a detailed plan that satisfies your goals. We’ll present it to the other parent, handle negotiations with their counsel, and work to find common ground without sacrificing what you really want to achieve.
If necessary, we’ll help you collaborate or mediate a successful plan. Contact our lawyers in Orlando to get started with your case today.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Qualified Orlando Child Custody Lawyer
Maybe you need to modify the terms of an existing agreement. Perhaps you’ve discovered that your child isn’t safe with the other parent, and you want to request sole custody. Or, maybe you’re in the middle of a highly-contested divorce in Orlando and need help with this matter.
Conti Moore Law, PLLC can help. Our Orlando child custody attorneys are award-winning and come highly recommended by former clients. Our firm has more than 50 years of experience helping parents like you secure custody of their children and creating parenting plans.
Contact our family law attorneys in central Florida to learn more. We’re ready to listen to your story, help you identify the best strategy, and advocate to get you the best possible results. Your first consultation is free, so call now.
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Orlando Child Custody Resources
- Florida Department of Children and Families – Directory and family information center.
- Florida Courts – Family Law Forms – Family courts and law forms.
- Florida Department of Revenue – Child support payments and parent services.
- The Center for Divorce Education – Co-parenting education courses.
- Women’s Institute for Financial Education – Financial planning education for women.