Florida Child Custody Attorneys Work to Establish Fair Arrangements
Sarasota family lawyers advise on parental responsibility and time-sharing
Parents who break up might have many disagreements, but both should focus on the needs of the children they share. In many situations, this is the case and arrangements pertaining to custody and visitation are resolved without serious dispute. Unfortunately, conflicts do occur that require Florida courts to make decisions concerning parental responsibility and time-sharing. Our Sarasota firm, Sessums Law Group, P.A., represents area clients in custody matters that are part of divorce proceedings and in cases where parents never married. We work closely with families to create enforceable parenting plans that promote continued strong relationships.
Proven firm explains factors courts use to make custody determinations
Florida uses different terms than states that refer to legal and physical custody. Parental responsibility is the state’s term for the authority to make important decisions on the child’s behalf. This is often conferred jointly on parents. However, if you believe that might present a danger, our firm can argue for a sole parental responsibility order. During a divorce when minor children are involved, a parenting plan must be developed that states when the child will reside with each parent. Usually, one is given primary residential responsibility. Should the parties be unable to agree, Florida courts make decisions based on numerous factors, including:
- Parental fitness — Judges review the physical, mental and moral fitness of each parent to assess what type of arrangement will be in the best interest of the child.
- Willingness to cooperate — Digging in to fight with your co-parent at every opportunity will not strengthen your position. The relevant statute requires courts to favor parents who are willing to cooperate on key issues.
- Child’s preference — Florida law lets judges decide on a case-by-case basis whether children are mature enough to have their preferences considered in time-sharing decisions. No matter how old the children, judges are free to overrule their wishes.
Our firm makes every effort to establish plans that promote substantial meaningful contact between a child and each parent. We have the experience to address potential areas of conflict in the parenting plan to avoid confusion and problems later on.
Skillful advocates help parents obtain appropriate custody modifications
When a substantial change in circumstances occurs, we can help you file a petition seeking a change to a custody or visitation order. If you wish to move more than 50 miles away for a job opportunity, to assist an ailing relative or for some other reason, we’ll try to make a fair agreement with your fellow parent, but will submit a request to the court if need be. As in initial time-sharing determinations, judges will examine a variety of factors to see what is in the child’s best interests. Our firm also represents parents who wish to maintain the original order’s terms.
Knowledgeable advisers counsel clients on grandparent visitation rights
Outside of situations where both parents are deceased or indisposed due to health problems or incarceration, it is difficult for Florida grandparents to secure custody or visitation rights. If grandparents believe that their grandchild’s parents are unfit, it takes a strong showing to shift legal responsibility for the child. Should you believe that your grandchild is at risk, we can discuss your situation and assess whether legal action is justified.
Contact an experienced Sarasota child custody attorney to make an appointment
Sessums Law Group, P.A. advocates for Florida clients in child custody proceedings and other Florida family law matters. Please call 813-435-5058 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Our office is in Sarasota, and the firm also has locations in Tampa, Lakeland and Sebring.