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Custody

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Custody

Issues involving children are often the most difficult for clients. It is important to have an attorney that knows the law that can guide you and protect your rights. The attorney can recommend counselors and experts. This may help alleviate some of the stress regarding custody and time-sharing. An attorney can also recommend counselors that could assist your children through this difficult time.

  • Mother vs. Father | Father vs. Mother
  • Mother vs. Mother | Father vs. Father
  • Grandparent or Relative Obtaining Custody When a Parent is Unfit
  • Relative or Foster Parent Obtaining Custody or Visitation in DCFS (Dept. of Children & Families Services) Case
  • Grandparent Visitation

Mother vs. Father | Father vs. Mother | Mother vs. Mother | Father vs. Father

Issues involving children are often the most difficult for parents. Their child(ren) are precious and priceless to them. The thought of having to fight over their child(ren) can cause stress and anxiety for them. That is why it is extremely important to have an attorney that knows the law. That attorney can guide you through the legal process and protect your parental rights. That attorney can recommend counselors and experts to help you. This can alleviate some of your stress during this trying and difficult time. That way, you will be better enabled to deal with the custody and time-sharing issues regarding your child(ren).

A parent must decide at the outset of their case as to what Orlando custody and time sharing they will request. There is shared custody and sole custody. Most times, the parents have shared custody. However, if one parent is unfit, the other parent may seek sole custody. Sole custody may be appropriate when the following issues are involved: domestic violence, drugs, alcohol, abuse, abandonment, and neglect.

Each situation is different. At an initial consultation, an attorney can go over your situation and recommend what custody is legally appropriate under the facts of your case.

You must also decide on a time sharing schedule and complete a parenting plan during your custody case. In the parenting plan, you deal with the following child(ren) issues: time sharing, decision making, extracurricular activities, school, transportation, exchanges, vacations, and communication with the children.

You are also required to take a court approved parenting class.

Currently in Florida, there is no presumption of 50/50 time sharing. The court analyzes and evaluates the best interest of the child(ren) factors under F.S. 61.13. The court will also examine whether a parent’s work schedule would allow them to have the time sharing they are asking for in their pleadings.


Grandparent or Relative Obtaining Custody If Parents are Unfit

Many times a relative, such as a grandparent, aunt, or uncle are caring for a grandchild, a niece, or a nephew that is currently living with them. They would like to be able to add the child(ren) to their insurance, register the child(ren) in school, or obtain medical insurance and treatment for the child(ren). An attorney can help them obtain concurrent, or temporary custody by an extended family member in order that they can do such things.


Relative or Foster Parent Obtaining Custody a in DCFS (Dept. of Children & Families Services) Case

Many times a child is taken from their parents for allegations of abuse, abandonment, or neglect. DCFS first tries to place the child(ren) with a relative, if the parents are unfit. This avoids the child being placed in foster care. However, sometimes DCFS does not know all the relatives available that could be qualified to take the child(ren) until the court rules that it is safe to return the child(ren) to the parents. An attorney can help a relative navigate through the court system and work with DCFS regarding getting the relative the child. The attorney can also help a grandparent get visitation with the child(ren) during this time period.


Grandparent Visitation

Grandparents have limited rights to visitation in Florida. There are a few circumstances where Grandparents have visitation rights.

They are as follows:

  1. If there is a current dependency case under Florida Statute Chapter 39.
  2. Under Florida Statute Chapter 752-Grandparental Visitation Rights.

A grandparent of a minor child whose parents are deceased, missing, or in a persistent vegetative state, or whose one parent is deceased, missing or in a persistent vegetative state and whose other parent has been convicted of a felony or an offense of violence evincing behavior that poses a substantial threat of harm to the minor child’s health or welfare, may petition the court for court-ordered visitation with the grandchild under this section.

  1. Upon the filing of a petition by grandparent for visitation, the court shall hold a preliminary hearing to determine whether the petitioner has made a prima facie showing of parental unfitness or significant harm to the child. Absent a showing, the court shall dismiss the petition and may award reasonable attorney fees and cost to be paid by the petitioner to the respondent.
  2. If the court finds that there is prima facie evidence that a parent is unfit, or that there is significant harm to child, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem and shall refer the matter to family mediation as provided in 752.015. If family mediation does not successfully resolve the issue of grandparent visitation, the court shall proceed with final hearing.

After conducting a final hearing on the issue of visitation, the court may award reasonable visitation to the grandparents with respect to the minor child if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that a parent is unfit or that there is significant harm to child, that visitation is in the best interest of the minor child, and that the visitation will not materially harm the parent-child relationship.

You can go to Florida Statute Chapter 752.011(4)(a)-(l) to see factors the court analyzes while considering the totality of circumstances affecting the mental and emotional well-being of the minor child.

This information is provided only as educational materials, and does not constitute the providing of legal advice, and does not create an attorney client relationship.

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