Divorce happens. The kids are often caught in the middle of the back-and-forth between parents. To avoid catching your child in this trap, having an Orlando child custody lawyer is beneficial to help iron out the details.
The attorneys at Bogin, Munns & Munns are familiar with all aspects of child custody litigation. Keeping the well-being of the children in mind is the goal of our child custody team as we work with you to resolve issues, answer questions, and guide you through the court process.
When a Lawyer for Child Custody Cases is Necessary
Whenever the welfare of a child is involved, it is beneficial to have a child custody attorney. A child custody lawyer is tasked with looking out for the children’s best interests as a divorce unfolds.
In many cases, both parents agree, and child custody arrangements can proceed with little fuss. However, when one spouse or the other (or both) is extremely bitter, a messy divorce can become a power struggle over the children. A custody lawyer can help parents develop a parenting plan and agree on custody arrangements.
To consult with an experienced child custody lawyer serving Orlando, call 855-780-9986
Do I Need a Parenting Plan?
A parenting plan outlines the custody arrangement for your children. It should include time-sharing, visitation, and custody with both parents. Working together on the parenting plan makes it easier for all parties involved.
Florida Statutes § 61.13 requires all custody agreements to serve the children’s best interests. Typically, this means spending time with both parents. During the planning stage, a custody attorney can assist in formulating a viable parenting plan. If negotiations break down, a judge may get involved to settle irreconcilable differences.
Other information that should be included in your parenting plan are:
- The time children will spend with each parent
- How medical insurance and care are handled
- How school matters will be resolved, including extra-curricular activities
Once a proposed parenting plan is complete, both parents will appear in court for the judge to review the plan. If approved, it will become a binding part of the divorce settlement. The judge could modify some parts of the parenting plan during this process.
Modifying a Parenting Plan
Sometimes after a divorce, situations change, and you might need to modify a parenting plan. When you have a change in job status, living arrangements, or other impediments to maintaining the set plan, you can apply to request a change. An Orlando child custody attorney can help guide you through the steps of petitioning the court for a modification.
You can also request enforcement if a former spouse is not abiding by the plan as specified. A lawyer can assist with that process also.
Orlando Child Custody Lawyer Near Me 855-780-9986
How Does Time Sharing Work in Custody Agreements?
When the court decides custody arrangements, they will always side on behalf of the child’s best interests. Time-sharing is the phrase that has replaced the outdated terms “custody” and “visitation.” Some of the factors a judge will consider:
- The willingness of each parent to “share” time with a child and to provide a safe and stable environment
- The ability to provide housing, transportation, food, consistent routine, and other welfare needs for the child or children
- The mental, physical health, and moral fitness of each parent
- Geographic location and ability to provide transportation between two homes
- Home, community, and school ties for the child
- Evidence of past or current domestic violence
- Any developmental needs of the child
Children can choose which parent they wish to stay with at a certain age. The judge will take into consideration their age and understanding of the situation. Other relevant factors will also be considered to ensure that the final parenting plan considers the best interests of the child or children.
Typical Time-Sharing Arrangements to Consider
Each parenting plan is unique. However, a legal representative or the judge might suggest some standard “boilerplate” time-sharing strategies.
A weekly exchange could work well when parents have similar work schedules. This plan offers stability and routine and reduces the need to juggle schedules.
A two-week exchange plan means the child stays with one parent for two weeks. For parents with busier schedules, this permits them to schedule heavier workloads when the child is with the other parent.
A 2-2-5-5 schedule allows parents to share time, beginning with two days each, followed by five days each. This type of scheduling repeats on a two-week rotation.
Other two-week plans include the 3-4-4-3 and 2-3-2 schedules. The plans alternate to ensure that each parent shares equal time. The 2-3-2 alternates each week to offer each parent the same number of days.
Holiday planning is considered separately from standard time-sharing arrangements. For instance, if dad’s family has a big Thanksgiving gathering, he may request extra time to travel to a different location. However, any time-sharing agreement aims to work together to ensure that your children’s lives stay as peaceful and routine as possible.
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Talking with Your Children About Custody
When you and your spouse decide that divorce is necessary, considering how it impacts your children should top your list of concerns. In preparing to address your children, we offer the following points for consideration:
- Talk to them together – assure them that although you may not be married, you are still a parenting team
- Write out notes for areas you want to address
- Schedule a set time to sit down for this discussion
- Allow the children to ask questions and offer frank, age-appropriate answers
- Make every effort to keep their lives the same
Divorce can significantly change children; they all have different coping mechanisms. Be aware of their feelings, observations, and their ability to adapt. Finding a family therapist to help your children cope with the changes may be necessary.
Defining Physical and Legal Custody
Physical custody is the time that each parent spends with a child. Legal custody refers to the person designated to make decisions for the child regarding healthcare, schooling, and other “legal” areas of care.
In Florida, with time-sharing, the legal decisions are split, requiring input from both parents. In some regards, it makes time-sharing easier. In others, it may require the assistance of a child custody attorney in Orlando to help parents work together to formulate a good plan.
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Finding the Right Child Custody Attorney in Orlando to Represent You
When going through a divorce and determining custody arrangements for your children, an Orlando child custody lawyer from Bogin, Munns & Munns can help. Contact our law firm to discuss your child custody options.