Your Children Come First
We understand that the well-being of your children is your top priority. That is why we have a team of Tampa child custody attorneys at your disposal. Whether you are in the process of divorcing, or you are already divorced, or never married, and facing a custody dispute, we are here to help protect your parental rights and the best interests of your children.
Our knowledgeable Tampa child custody lawyers will shed light and understanding on the complicated legal process. We will guide you through the difficult decisions you’ll face as to how time and responsibility raising your children will be shared between parents.
You Can Begin to Take Control of Your Children’s Future
Why speculate about your children’s future, when our experienced and compassionate family law team can help alleviate the anxiety of the unknown?
We will strive to get your child custody case settled promptly so that your life and those of your children can return to normal as soon as possible.
If you are facing a custody case, we can help. Please contact us today at (813) 907-9807 to speak with a child custody attorney from our family law practice group in Tampa.
From Mediation to Litigation: A Team of Child Custody Attorneys on Your Side.
Our team consists of five skilled attorneys with a strong focus on legal matters stemming from divorce, including time sharing or custody issues. Well-versed in all aspects of resolution, we are prepared to resolve your custody matter in the most effective manner possible. From mediation and collaborative practice to trial and appeals, our team of attorneys is equipped with the extensive experience your child custody case deserves.
Mediation and Negotiation First
Much is at stake, and issues may become heated, but they do not need to be contemptuous battles. We encourage our clients to consider the needs of their children first and foremost. We are always mindful that an amicable agreement is in their best interests, when possible.
Trial When Necessary
We recognize, however, that child custody cases are emotionally charged and can become unpleasant and adverse. Rest assured, we will always advocate for your children, as much as for you as their parent. We will be fully prepared to defend your rights and theirs in court, should mediation or negotiation become unproductive.
Florida Law & The Child’s Best Interests
As in all of Florida, family courts in Hillsborough County place an emphasis on what judges believe to be the “Child’s Best Interests”. This legal standard forms the basis of all their decisions regarding child custody. Unsurprisingly, it is the children’s interests, not the parents’, that guide a court’s custody determination.
How a Final Custody Order is Determined
Florida statute 61.13(3) defines the factors a judge must consider when deciding a timesharing case. After mandatory consideration of each factor in the statute, along with supporting facts for each, the judge will construct the final custody order. The order will typically indicate which parent is deemed the stronger choice for each of the “child’s best interests” listed.
The Importance of Evidence & Testimony
It is our role to carefully consider each of these factors at the outset of a child custody legal battle so the strategy we develop has the highest possible chance of success. Though most Hillsborough County judges will directly decide a custody case based on evidence alongside testimony by the parents and witnesses, issues which develop during proceedings may come into play.
The Impact of Parents’ Behavior
Though the child is undoubtedly a parent’s primary concern, it’s important to remember that a spouse’s behavior toward the other can become either an asset or a disadvantage. If either parent’s attitude appears to be self-serving, the judge may view it as contradictory to the best interests of the child.
Parenting Plans & Timesharing
In every initial divorce and paternity proceeding that involves a minor child, a parenting plan is required. Parenting plans deal with a variety of parenting issues, including communication between parents and children, parental responsibility, and co-parenting.
A main component of every parenting plan involves a timesharing schedule which addresses when each parent will spend time with the child or children. It describes in detail how each parent will participate in the upbringing of the parties’ child or children.
Every timesharing plan must be in the best interest of the child or children in order to be approved by the Court.
Once a couple decides to separate or divorce, how custody of the children is shared is left up to the parents at first. In child custody cases that are highly contested, an agreement on a schedule is unlikely. When both spouses are unable to agree on a time sharing schedule, they leave it in the hands of the courts to decide. When the court determines the schedule, physical custody can be any of the following:
Joint Physical Custody
Also referred to as shared custody. Both parents act as the child’s primary residence and care providers, and both are considered custodial parents. In Florida, courts create a joint custody calendar, and there is an additional custody agreement which facilitates a 50/50 split, as needed.
Sole Physical Custody
Also referred to as full custody. One parent acts as the primary residence for the children. The other is usually given visitation rights, the amount of which is determined by the court.
In Florida, the physical and legal custody is rotated between parents. For a total of six months of the year, each parent must be the custodial parent.
What is Legal Custody?
When the courts determine physical custody, they also decide on the matter of legal custody, which is the right to make decisions for the child. Legal custody can either be sole custody, with one parent in charge, or joint custody, with both parents retaining a say in the child’s life.
Why Florida Courts Prefer Shared Parenting
For divorcing couples, Florida family court judges have a strong preference for “shared parenting,” which enables children to benefit from the participation of both parents in their upbringing. Though there used to be a preference for mothers in child custody rulings due to a ‘tender years’ doctrine, that is no longer the case in Florida.
Accessible Tampa Child Custody Attorneys Who Keep You Informed
As difficult as child custody disputes can be, you can take comfort in the fact that our family law team will be accessible to you throughout the process. To help you understand the complex legalities, as well as for support. We’ll keep you regularly informed of how your case is proceeding, so you’ll have one less thing to worry about during this difficult time.
Please don’t hesitate to contact one of our team of Tampa child custody attorneys today at at (813) 907-9807, so we can get started on resolving your child custody matter in the best manner possible.
Christina Anton Garcia / Tampa Child Custody Attorney