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Winter Haven Child Custody Lawyer

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Winter Haven Child Custody Lawyer

Are you facing a child custody dispute in Winter Haven, Florida? Whether you’re going through a divorce or need to change an existing child custody arrangement, it’s essential to focus on your child’s well-being and future. At Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC, we’re here to provide you with effective, compassionate, and experienced legal representation.

With over 50 years of combined experience, our Winter Haven child custody lawyers have the expertise and dedication necessary to navigate this challenging journey. We’re committed to advocating for parents who want what’s best for their children. When you choose our law firm, you can access an award-winning team of attorneys passionate about fighting for your family’s interests.

Contact us today at (407) 831-0203 to begin your child custody case in Winter Haven, FL.

How Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC Can Help With Your Child Custody Case in Winter Haven

How Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC Can Help With Your Child Custody Case in Winter Haven

Our experienced Winter Haven family and divorce are here to make the child custody process easier for you. When you choose Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC, you’ll benefit from our extensive legal knowledge and commitment to putting your child’s needs first.

Throughout your child custody case, we will:

  • Prepare a parenting plan
  • Work with you to help you achieve your goals
  • Advocate for non-adversarial approaches when appropriate
  • Handle negotiations
  • Prepare for court, if necessary

We aim to help you navigate this difficult situation and ensure an outcome that reflects your child’s best interests. You don’t have to face this challenge alone. Contact our dedicated child custody lawyers in Winter Haven, FL, to get started on protecting your child’s future.

An Overview of Child Custody in Florida

In Florida, child custody revolves around two primary aspects: legal and physical custody.

Legal custody determines which custodial parent or parents have the legal right to make important decisions about their child’s life. These decisions encompass education, healthcare, medical treatment, living arrangements, and more. Legal custody can be shared, joint, or solely held by one parent.

Physical Custody 

Physical custody refers to which parent or parents have the legal right to spend time with their children. It can also be shared or sole. In shared custody arrangements, one parent usually has primary custody of the child, while the other has visitation rights. All custody arrangements must focus on the best interests of the child.

How Do Florida Courts Decide the Best Interests of a Child?

In child custody cases in Florida, the child’s well-being is paramount. When parents cannot agree on custody arrangements, the court intervenes to ensure the custody agreement reflects the child’s best interests. Florida law considers several factors when determining these interests, including:

  • Parental involvement & time spent with the child
  • Individual parent-child relationship
  • Familiarity with child’s life
  • Childcare & living situation intentions of the parents
  • Health conditions & developmental needs
  • Financial support

Additionally, a child’s personal preferences can be considered if they possess the “intelligence, understanding, and experience” to make such a decision. There’s no specific age requirement, as a judge will assess the child’s answer in the context of their overall development.

How Can a Child Custody Lawyer in Winter Haven Help Me Create a Parenting Plan and Time-Sharing Agreement?

Drafting a parenting plan that both parents can agree on can be challenging. An attorney can help you advocate for terms that reflect your child’s best interests.

Our attorneys will work with you to create an agreement that:

  1. Ensures the child can spend time with each parent safely.
  2. Limits conflict between parents.
  3. Disrupts your child’s life as little as possible.
  4. It is tailored to your unique family’s needs and circumstances.

Whether you desire a structured, minute-by-minute plan or a more flexible arrangement with room for adjustments, we’ll help you identify your goals and design a detailed plan. We will also handle negotiations with the other parent’s counsel and work toward a resolution that aligns with your objectives.

We are skilled at collaborating or mediating to reach a successful agreement if necessary. Contact our Child Custody Lawyers in Winter Haven today to start your case.

What Is a Parenting Plan?

In Florida, parents who share custody must create a parenting plan, a formal document outlining how time-sharing and parental responsibility will work post-divorce. The parenting plan must specify legal and physical custody.

The parenting plan and time-sharing agreements must always focus on the child’s best interests. If you need assistance creating a parenting plan that truly serves your child’s needs, our experienced family law firm is here to help.

How Do Time-Sharing Agreements Work?

Time-sharing agreements dictate how children spend time with each parent after a divorce. These agreements can vary, ranging from structured schedules to more flexible arrangements.

Equal Time-Sharing Agreements

In equal time-sharing agreements, both parents consent to have nearly identical physical custody of their child. Examples include alternating weeks or a 3-4-4-3 schedule. The goal is to keep both parents involved in the child’s life.

Majority/Minority Time-Sharing Agreements

In majority/minority time-sharing agreements, one parent (the “custodial parent“) has primary custody, while the other parent enjoys regular visitation rights. Examples include the child spending weekdays with one parent and weekends with the other or the child spending the school year with one parent and summers with the other.

Regardless of the structure, time-sharing agreements should cover various scenarios, including summer vacations and holiday breaks from school.

Modifying Child Custody Orders

Child custody orders are meant to provide stability and consistency for a child’s upbringing. However, life circumstances can change, and modifications to existing custody orders may become necessary. Here, we’ll explore the process of modifying child custody orders in Florida.

When Can Child Custody Orders Be Modified?

To seek a modification in Florida, you must show that a substantial change in circumstances has transpired since the original custody order was issued. This could include changes in a parent’s living situation, job, or health, among other factors.

Any proposed modification must also be in the best interests of the child. The court will always focus on the child’s well-being when considering changes.

Common reasons for modifying child custody orders include relocation. Parental misconduct, and for the child’s wishes.

The Modification Process

To change a child custody order in Florida, follow these steps:

  1. Seek legal counsel to assess the viability of your modification request.
  2. File a petition with the court with your reasoning and evidence.
  3. Serve notice of the modification request to the other parent. 
  4. Depending on the circumstances, you may mediate to resolve the dispute or proceed to a court hearing if an agreement cannot be reached.
  5. The court will check the evidence and arguments from both parties and decide to serve the child’s best interests.

Child custody modifications should focus on the child’s well-being and stability. 

Child Custody Mediation vs. Litigation

When resolving child custody disputes, parents often choose between mediation and litigation. 

Child Custody Mediation

Mediation is a non-adversarial, voluntary process. Parents work with a mediator, deemed a neutral third party, to reach an agreement. Mediation encourages cooperative problem-solving. The mediator helps ease communication between parents, guiding them toward acceptable solutions.

Parents keep more control over the outcome and can tailor agreements to fit their unique family circumstances. This approach often results in more creative and personalized custody arrangements. Mediation occurs behind closed doors, keeping your family matters confidential and reducing the emotional strain on children.

Child Custody Litigation

Litigation involves going to court to resolve custody disputes, which may be necessary in certain cases. Litigation is an adversarial process where a judge hears each parent’s case and makes the final decision. This can lead to higher conflict levels and more emotional stress.

In litigation, a judge decides custody arrangements that may not align with the parent’s preferences. It can also be a lengthy and expensive process. Court decisions may result in standard custody orders not considering your family’s unique needs and dynamics.

Choosing the Right Approach:

The decision between mediation and litigation should focus on your child’s best interests. In cases where cooperation and communication are possible, mediation can be a more amicable and child-centered choice. However, litigation may be necessary to ensure their well-being if significant disputes or concerns about a child’s safety exist.

Schedule a Free Consultation With a Qualified Winter Haven Child Custody Lawyer

Whether you need to change an existing child custody arrangement, ensure your child’s safety, or navigate a highly-contested divorce. At Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC, we’re committed to your child’s future. Let us stand by your side during this challenging time. 

Your first consultation with an experienced Winter Haven child custody lawyer is free, so don’t hesitate to call now.

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