Lake County Child Custody Lawyer
Child custody is often an emotional and complex issue that can be difficult for parents to navigate without professional assistance. You may worry that your parental rights will be compromised and that what the court decides may negatively impact your relationship with your child. While there’s no denying divorce generally impacts all parties, most especially minor children, acceptable agreements can be arranged with the help of an experienced and proven family law attorney.
At the Law Offices of Jason G. Smith, you can work with a law firm that has been helping individuals and families with these worrisome issues since 2004. Our team understands the stress, confusion, and uncertainty that custody matters can bring, whether they are part of an ongoing divorce or in a post-divorce matter long after formal custody orders have been finalized. These latter can involve seeking modifications or enforcements of current orders.
Custody may also arise as an issue in a paternity case where a biological father seeks to gain legal authority to play a meaningful role in his child’s life.
Our firm handles all variations of custody concerns with competence and compassion. We are here to protect your legal rights and to pursue your best interests as well as those of your child in these issues.
Contact our Lake County child custody attorney for a free initial consultation at (407) 634-2784 or by contacting us online. We also service Georgians from our Newnan, GA location.
How Is Child Custody Determined?
You do not necessarily have to go to court in Florida to resolve child custody. You and the other parent can come to an arrangement outside of court through private negotiations or with the help of a mediator. However, no matter what route is taken, it will be up to the court to decide that the final arrangement complies with Florida law and the state’s policy of doing what is in the best interests of the child.
Child custody is divided into two categories:
- Time-sharing, which involves how parenting time will be arranged between parents; this refers to what is often called “physical custody.”
- Parental responsibility, which involves decision-making authority on the major factors of raising the child, such as schooling, medical care, religious upbringing, and other important life matters. This is often referred to as “legal custody.”
Florida courts do not favor one parent over the other in these matters; both parents have equal rights to parenting time and decision-making. Furthermore, courts operate on the general belief that children do better by maintaining a continuing and meaningful relationship with both parents. The courts put this into effect as much as possible. Only where a parent has a history of domestic violence, substance abuse, or child neglect would a court rule out that parent’s custody rights.
Courts will review many factors in resolving custody, including but not limited to:
- Each parent's ability to provide a stable home environment
- Each parent's mental and physical health
- The child's age, gender, and emotional bond with each parent
- The child's school and community involvement
- Each parent's ability and willingness to facilitate a relationship with the other parent
Parenting plans are documents that outline the details of custody arrangements, including time-sharing as well as decision-making responsibility. They are mandatory in child custody cases. If you and the other parent can reach an agreement on this, you can submit your own plan to the court for approval.
These plans should be as detailed as possible to provide clarity as to the arrangements and to help avoid future disputes. Such details can include a schedule of how many overnights the child will spend in each household, how parents will coordinate decision-making, the designation of which parent will take on school-related or healthcare matters, and how parents will communicate with each other as well as how they can resolve any disputed matters.
Understanding Florida's Shared Parenting Law
Florida law states that both parents have equal rights and responsibilities when it comes to raising their child. This is known as the shared parenting law. When determining child custody, the court will consider the best interests of the child, which includes factors such as:
- The child's age and developmental needs
- The physical and mental health of each parent
- The ability of each parent to provide for the child's basic needs
- The child's relationship with each parent
- The child's preference, if they are old enough to express one
At the Law Offices of Jason G. Smith, we understand how important it is to have a fair and favorable child custody arrangement. Our Winter Garden child custody lawyer can help you navigate the complexities of the legal system and ensure that your rights as a parent are protected. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
What Happens at a Legitimation Hearing in Florida
A legitimation hearing in Florida is a legal process where a judge determines paternity and the ability of the parents to support the child. The judge may order a test to establish genetic paternity. They will also consider the extent to which a father has already attempted to support and develop a relationship with the child.
If you are considering seeking legitimation for a child in Florida, it is important to speak with an experienced family law attorney. They can help you understand your rights and options and guide you through the process.
Turn to the Law Offices of Jason G. Smith for Proven Legal Ability
Our firm is here to help you understand your rights and responsibilities as a parent and ensure that your best interests and the best interests of your child are represented in court. With our help, a fair and reasonable parenting plan that reflects your child's needs can be negotiated or sought in court.
We know that this issue can be stressful which is why we do everything possible to ensure that you have the guidance and support you need throughout the process. Our firm is here to be your ally, advocate, and voice in all Florida child custody matters.