Miami Child Custody Lawyer

Respected Child Custody Lawyer Advocating for Your Child's Needs in Miami

In Florida, child custody is one of the more sensitive issues in family law, and it can become both emotionally challenging and legally complex for those involved.

When parents are going through a divorce or separation, a custody dispute adds another weight to an already difficult situation. However, Florida has child custody laws that are designed to protect the rights and interests of both parents and children. If you understand these rights as a parent, you can make better and more informed decisions when it comes to your child custody case.

Regardless of whether you are a concerned parent considering a separation and have questions about a potential custody battle ahead, or you are heading straight towards a custody dispute and need legal aid now, our lawyers can help.

At Miami Family Law Group, PLLC, our team of family law attorneys is well-versed in Florida family law, and we know how to navigate the complexities of your custody case while protecting your rights as a parent.

Ensure your parental rights are protected today. Call our law office at 305-520-7874.

Types of Child Custody Arrangements

When confronting child custody, it is first necessary to determine which type of custody arrangement you and your family will be seeking. In Florida, custody arrangements are organized as sole vs. shared (joint) custody, and physical vs. legal, along with a few alternative methods for specific situations.

Sole Physical Custody

In this type of custody arrangement, one parent is given physical custody of the minor child, meaning the child mostly lives with that parent. The other parent may be given visitation or time-sharing rights, but the child will predominantly be with one parent.

Shared Physical Custody

Also known as joint physical custody, in this arrangement, the child will typically be spending time with both parents. This can involve equal hours split between parents, or a specific schedule may be created that caters to the child's and parent's needs.

Sole Legal Custody

With sole custody, one parent will have the final say in important decisions concerning the child's life, such as their education or healthcare plans. This doesn't mean the other parent is not allowed visitation or time with the child, but it means the parent with legal custody is in charge of decisions for the child.

Shared Legal Custody

In this situation, which is also referred to as joint legal custody, both parents are involved in decision-making for the child. Parents work together and share the parental responsibility for the child in order to make sure the child's needs are met.

Bird's Nest Custody

A rarer form of a custody agreement, a bird's nest typically operates with the child staying in the family home, and the parents being the ones who take turns living there. Although less common, this type of arrangement can be a legitimate option for parents concerned about moving their child around too much.

Third-Party Custody

In cases where the parents are unable or unfit to care for the child, a third-party custody arrangement where a close relative is granted custody rights can be established. This type of custody is typically determined by what the court considers to be in the best interests of the child.

Although these are the more common forms of custody agreements in Florida, such arrangements can be amended to fit a family's needs. Working with child custody attorneys in Miami-Dade County is a sure way to safeguard your rights as a parent and ensure your child's best interests are made a priority.

Factors Affecting Child Custody Orders

There are many factors that come into play in child custody cases, all aimed at what is in the best interest of the children involved. These factors include:

  • Parent-child relationship - The court will look into the emotional connection, stability, and history of care that each parent has with the child. If it is clear that one parent has a more in-depth relationship with the child, that can weigh in on the court's ultimate decision for custody.
  • Parent's well-being - Both the physical and mental health of a parent can come into play in a custody case. Courts may consider if a parent has a history of substance use, mental health issues, or physical health issues, because these concerns can affect the ability of the parent to care for the child.
  • Children's wishes - In cases where a child is in their teenage years and has indicated a preference for which parent they wish to be with, the court may take this into account.
  • Co-parenting ability- The courts will consider whether parents are on good terms and can communicate effectively or if there are ongoing bitter resentments that have led to a breakdown in communication. In the case that parents struggle to communicate effectively, shared custody may be an unfavorable option.
  • Home stability- The general home stability of each parent can become a factor when determining physical custody. This can extend to the past living arrangements of the child, the school they have been attending, and the friendships they have made.
  • History of abuse - Any incident of domestic violence or abuse can have a huge impact on child custody. In the case a parent has domestic violence on their record but wishes to obtain custody, a lawyer is essential.
  • Parent involvement - Much like the parent-child relationship, overall parental involvement will be taken into account. If one parent primarily shows up for academic or sports events or has been in charge of transporting the child, caring for the child, etc., that increases the chances they will be given more custodial rights.
  • Plans to relocate- If one parent is planning to relocate following the separation, a court will consider the impact of this on the child and what custody agreements best suit the new living situation.

Ultimately, child custody decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, and a slight variance in details can lead to a huge change in custodial rights. Working with a team of experienced child custody lawyers can help you determine what custody agreement will be best for you and your family.

The Child Custody Process

Although every child custody case is unique, the steps of the child custody process in Florida typically follows this path:

  1. Filing a petition - A custody case starts with filing a petition with the family court. This is the moment to define what custody agreements you are seeking (whether that may be sole, shared, legal, or physical custody) along with specific living, visiting, and child support arrangements.
  2. Mediation and negotiation- The court may require parents to go through a mediation session in order to attempt to resolve issues before heading to court. In a mediation session, there will be a neutral third party to facilitate the discussions and negotiations, all in the hopes of attaining common ground and reaching a mutually beneficial agreement.
  3. Custody evaluation - In the event that an agreement can not be made among the parents, a court can order a custody evaluation, which involves a thorough assessment of the child's needs and the parents' ability to fulfill them. This can involve speaking with both parents, the child, and other relevant parties such as relatives or teachers to gain an understanding of what is best for the child.
  4. Court hearings- If, after mediation and a custody evaluation, an agreement still has not been reached, heading to court may be the next step. In court, both parents will have an opportunity to present their case. The court will consider all relevant factors, testimonies, and evidence to reach a decision.
  5. Custody order - After a decision has been made by the court, an order will be issued. This will spell out the custody arrangement, visitation schedule, and any other details involved. Once an order has been issued, parents are legally required to adhere to it.
  6. Modification or enforcement- If either modification or enforcement of a custody order becomes necessary, it can be allowed through the court. However, this means heading back to court and displaying evidence that circumstances have changed drastically enough to need a change in the custody arrangement or that a parent has failed to abide by the custody arrangements.
  7. Parental education classes - In Florida, parents are typically required to complete a parental education class. This course addresses the impact of a divorce on children in an effort to teach parenting skills that can help adults navigate co-parenting with minimal conflict.

Custody cases are no light issue. When disagreements arise, and parents are unable to cooperate, these disputes can become a burden to an entire family. Not only can disagreements cause further emotional stress, but it is likely the case will be prolonged with each added conflict. Whether your case is set to sail with little to no issues, or you are anticipating a battle to gain the rights to your child, a child custody attorney can be a huge help to your case.

What You Must Know About Child Custody Laws in Florida

Florida's child custody laws focus on the best interest of the child. In other words, the court will place the children in an environment that will more likely provide them with ample opportunities for growth, education, and healthy living. Therefore, if you want custody of your children, you must be able to prove that you can offer a healthy and loving environment where their needs will be met.

It is also important to note that both parents generally have custody of and timesharing with their children. In most cases, both parents need to work together to decide what is best for the child, including making decisions when it comes to their education, health care, and religious practice.

Both parents also get the opportunity to have overnights with their children. The parties need to work together to establish a parenting plan that is in the best interests of the child. In most cases, both parties have the same rights to have access and overnights with their children.

Important Tips When You Are Facing a Custody Battle

A legal custody battle can be harrowing and emotionally draining. To get through it, you must strengthen your mindset and have exceptional patience with the long and complicated process. As much as possible, communicate honestly with your ex-spouse and avoid adding more issues that can only delay the process.

Most of all, you must keep your child's best interests in mind. This means you must still provide emotional and financial support whenever possible and avoid arguing and fighting with your ex whenever you are with your child.

What Should I Do if My Ex-Spouse Refuses to Comply With the Child Custody Order?

If you are worried that your ex-spouse will just ignore a child custody order, it would be prudent to prepare yourself. First, gather enough evidence and keep track of the times or days when your ex-spouse fails to show up or turn over the kids to you during your scheduled visitation time.

Your next step is to consult an experienced child custody attorney in Miami for assistance. Contact Miami Family Law Group, PLLC for more information and to find peace of mind.

How Can a Child Custody Lawyer Help You?

If major clashes exist between you and your former partner, a child custody case can get tricky, making legal aid essential to defend your parental rights. However, if you are not anticipating many issues and just need to go through the custody process following a divorce, a child custody attorney can still be a big help. They can help you plan and navigate your child custody agreement both swiftly and smoothly, allowing you to move forward faster.

A Miami child custody lawyer can help build a strategy for your case, complete all necessary documentation, negotiate on your behalf, and represent you in a court of law. Along with the normal functions of an attorney, our lawyers at Miami Family Law Group, PLLC will offer our continued emotional support along the way.

Contact Our Miami Child Custody Attorneys

At Miami Family Law Group, PLLC, we know the stress a custody case can put on a family. Our Miami child custody lawyers have extensive practice in family law, and we are familiar with the ins and outs of these sometimes overly complicated processes.

Whether you are in the initial stages of contemplating separation, or you are in the midst of a custody battle already, our lawyers can help you navigate your case.

At Miami Family Law Group, PLLC, we understand the importance of providing our clients and their families with the best possible outcome. After meeting with you to discuss your needs, our lawyers can get started building your case and working towards the most favorable results for you and your loved ones.

Get started protecting your parental rights, and speak to an experienced child custody lawyer today. Contact us at 305-520-7874.

Contact Miami Family Law Group, PLLC

Our attorneys are ready to help address your legal needs. Schedule an appointment by calling 305-520-7874 or contacting us online.

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