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Volusia County Child Custody Lawyer

Giving Your Children the Legal Protections They Need

Child custody laws (called parental responsibility in Florida) are designed to provide a consistent, legally binding arrangement that the court believes is best for the child. The court will consider a broad variety of factors, including the testimony of both you and your ex-partner/co-parent.

Convincing the court that a certain arrangement is best for your child, however, may be a challenge. You could be in direct opposition with your ex-partner/co-parent. You may not have the evidence to prove what you know to be true. If you are the father, you may be concerned about how gender stereotypes could lead the judge to assume you are not as equipped for parenting as your child’s mother.

At Williams Legal, our child custody lawyer counsels and represents parents in a broad variety of situations. Some were never married while others are still working through a traumatic divorce. Some have only one child, while others have many children within a complex, blended family. No matter your circumstances, we can listen closely to your wants and needs, developing a strategy from scratch to ensure your children receive the care and support they deserve.

Ready to learn more about what our DeLand child custody attorney can do for you? Call (386) 277-1166 or reach out to us online today.

Navigating Parental Responsibility Laws in Florida

In Florida, the court must approve your parenting plan, even if you and your ex-partner/co-parent come to an agreement through negotiation or mediation. If negotiation or mediation is unsuccessful, the court will evaluate a variety of factors to establish a plan that is in the best interests of your children.

Your parenting plan must include:

  • How you will share daily tasks involved in raising your children;
  • Your time-sharing schedule (i.e. visitation);
  • Who will fill out forms for health care, school, and other activities; and
  • How each of you will communicate with your children.

If your children are minors, you and your ex-partner/co-parent will need to attend a parenting class as a requirement for your dissolution of marriage.

What Is the Difference Between Parental Responsibility and Time-Sharing?

Parental responsibility is the term for decision-making authority and liability for the child’s actions. Generally, Florida courts want both parents to share the responsibilities, rights, and joys of parenting, but they will grant sole parental responsibility if only one parent is capable of meeting all the child’s needs. Sole parental responsibility (versus shared parental responsibility) is when only one parent has the authority to make all decisions for the child.

Time-sharing, on the other hand, is what most states call visitation. In most cases, a parent will have the right to scheduled time with their children even if they don’t have parental responsibility. In some cases, however, parents may not have time-sharing rights if the court decides this is what is best for the children.

Before approving or adjusting your parenting plan, the court may consider factors including but not limited to:

  • Each of your intentions, interest, and level of involvement in your children’s lives
  • Each of your current parenting styles and capacities
  • How you and your ex-partner/co-parent communicate (and what you say to your children about each other)
  • Evidence of each of your willingness to prioritize your children’s needs over your own
  • Each of your locations
  • Each of your financial resources and employment
  • Each of your mental/physical health and moral fitness
  • Your children’s past and present school records, social life, and general wellbeing
  • Your children’s developmental stages and needs
  • Your children’s preferences
  • Evidence of deceit, mistreatment, domestic violence, or abuse of any kind

In general, the court will consider any information that may demonstrate how willing or able each of you are to meet your children’s wants and needs.

Let Williams Legal Help You Secure a Bright Future for Your Children

In child custody, the stakes are enormously high. The court’s decision will determine whether you can regularly see your children, make important decisions regarding their health and wellbeing, and ensure they have what they need to thrive. We understand how psychologically challenging this legal matter can be, and we want to support you every step of the way.

Contact our DeLand child custody attorney at (386) 277-1166 to request your free initial consultation today.

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