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Child Custody Attorney in Orlando, Florida

Florida's child custody laws are designed to meet the needs and fulfill the best interests of children, aiming to provide a stable and nurturing environment during and after the parents' separation. Our Orlando child custody attorney at The Spence Law Firm understands that these cases are often emotionally charged and complex.  

If you're facing a child custody dispute, it's crucial to have experienced legal representation on your side. We've been protecting the rights of biological, non-biological, and adoptive parents in Florida for over twenty-one years. We provide a full range of family law services for our clients, including representation in custody and paternity matters.  

We'll advocate for your parental rights and work to establish a custody arrangement that serves the well-being of your child. Contact our law firm in Orlando, Florida, to schedule a free consultation.  

Understanding Child Custody  

Child custody in Florida, as well as every other state, is determined based on the best interest of the child. The court will assess a variety of factors to determine the most suitable arrangement. These factors include each parent's willingness to foster a meaningful relationship between the child and the other parent, the child's needs, the parents' moral fitness, and any history of domestic violence or substance abuse. 

But what exactly does this mean for you and your family? And how can you ensure that your child's best interests are adequately represented during the legal proceedings?  

The allocation of parental responsibility is commonly called “child custody.”  This term is not actually used in current Florida law, but it is commonly used by judges and legal professionals. Parental responsibility (custody) contains two primary issues: 

  1. Parenting time and visitation

  1. Decision-making authority

In Florida, the term "time-sharing" is used instead of "custody." Parents can share time equally or one parent may have the majority of time-sharing, with the other parent having visitation rights. The court will issue a parenting plan that outlines the specifics of the time-sharing arrangement, including holidays, vacations, and special occasions.  

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Overview of Child Custody & Time-Sharing in Florida  

Florida Statutes section 61.13 governs the principles and statutes surrounding child custody and time-sharing. This legislation mandates that the best interests of the child must be the primary consideration in custody decisions.  

Before finalizing any custody arrangement, the court requires a thorough evaluation of the child's needs, parental capabilities, and the overall family dynamics to ensure an arrangement that fosters the child's welfare and well-being.  

The court will consider various aspects, such as:  

  • Each parent's ability to maintain a close and continuing parent-child relationship

  • The physical, mental, and emotional health of each parent

  • The child's home, school, and community record

  • Each parent's involvement in the child's day-to-day activities

  • The moral fitness of the parents

  • Evidence of domestic violence, child abuse, abandonment, or neglect

  • Any other factors relevant to the child's best interests

Joint Custody vs. Sole Custody  

Florida law favors joint custody arrangements, also known as shared parental responsibility. This means that both parents share the rights and responsibilities for major decisions affecting the child's welfare. However, in some cases, the court may grant one parent sole parental responsibility if it is in the child's best interest.  

Sole parental responsibility means that one parent makes all major decisions regarding the child's life without the involvement of the other parent. This arrangement usually arises when one parent is deemed unfit due to factors like abuse, neglect, or severe substance abuse issues.  

Child Custody Will Impact Child Support 

Your parenting time or time-sharing plan will be a schedule determined by you and your child's other parent, or in some cases, the court, based on what is deemed to be in the best interests of your child. Decision-making responsibility is the allocation of major decisions to one or both parents (which doctor the child will see, which classes to take in school, which religion the child will follow, etc.). Our family law attorney can work with you to ensure all issues are properly addressed in your parenting plan. 

Modifying Child Custody Arrangements  

Child custody arrangements are not set in stone. As circumstances change, you may need to modify the existing parenting plan. Whether it's due to a change in employment, relocation, or changes in the child's needs, the court allows parents to petition for modifications.  

However, any modification requires demonstrating a substantial change in circumstances and that the proposed change is in the best interests of the child.  

Can a Lawyer Help Protect My Child Custody Rights?  

A skilled attorney can provide crucial support in tackling the complexities of child custody, ensuring your parental rights are protected, and advocating for a custody arrangement that serves your child's best interests.  

Our lawyer will assist you in presenting a compelling case, meticulously reviewing all relevant factors such as the child's needs, your relationship with your child, and your ability to provide a stable environment. Our experienced Orlando child custody lawyer is committed to helping you achieve a fair and favorable outcome.  

By adopting a client-centered approach, we'll strive to minimize conflicts, protect your rights, and work toward a custody arrangement that allows your child to prosper in a loving and supportive environment.  

Child Custody Attorney in Orlando, Florida

For comprehensive legal support with your child custody case, contact us at The Spence Law Firm for a free consultation with an attentive and knowledgeable attorney. We're proud to serve clients throughout Orange County, Florida, and the surrounding areas, including Oak Ridge, Pine Hills, Lockhart, Maitland, Azalea Park, Osceola County, Lake County, and Seminole County.