Tampa Child Custody Lawyers Create Parenting Plans
Exceptional client service focused on producing positive results
For parents, few issues are more important than maintaining the loving relationship they have with their children. When parents divorce or are unmarried, the question of how to care for their children requires a legal answer that also affects a parent’s right to maintain frequent, meaningful contact with a child. As your child custody advocate, Sessums Law Group protects your parental rights as we work effectively to negotiate fair and manageable parenting plans. We provide highly personalized service geared toward producing solutions that fit your unique circumstances and accomplish your goals.
Child custody basics in Tampa, Florida
In 2008, the Florida legislature overhauled the state’s child custody laws, doing away with the traditional language familiar to most people. The purpose was mostly philosophical, a desire to emphasize parental responsibility toward the child rather than possession of the child, but the reforms also had some noteworthy practical effects, such as favoring joint parenting arrangements whenever they served the best interests of the child. Here are some of the important points to understand:
- Parental responsibility — No longer does Florida family law refer to child custody, whether joint or sole. The law now refers to parental responsibility, which encompasses all the duties of a parent: to provide food, shelter, clothing, and so on, and to make decisions affecting the health and welfare of the child. The law does not favor one parent over the other on the basis of gender.
- Time-sharing — The law does not refer to custodial parents, residential parents, or to physical custody or visitation. The term “full custody” is disfavored, because even if a child resides full time with one parent, the other parent might still have substantial decision-making authority over the child’s health and welfare. So the term “time-sharing” has replaced “visitation,” because that term diminished the role of a noncustodial parent to that of a mere visitor with the child. Today, all contact with the child, in or out of the home, is looked on as part of parenting time.
- Parenting plan — Instead of asking the court for a custody order, both parents can negotiate or mediate a parenting plan that contains the scope of each parent’s responsibilities and the terms of your time-sharing.
The Sessums Law Group works closely with you to make sure you fully understand the law so that together we can craft strategies focused on achieving your goals.
Mandatory mediation for contested child custody in Tampa
Parents have the opportunity to design their own parenting plan through traditional negotiations with attorneys representing their interests. Many parents are then able to present a parenting plan to the court for approval. The parenting plan then has the force of law, and either parent can request the court to enforce the plan if the other parent violates it.
However, when a child custody dispute arises, either as part of a divorce or between parents who were never married, the law requires that parents enter into mediation to resolve their differences. Mediation is a cost-effective means of resolving differences without a trial in open court. If mediation doesn’t yield an agreement on parenting time, the issue moves to trial before a judge.
When you retain the Sessums Law Group for your child custody dispute, you get a dedicated team of advocates who can fight for your parental rights throughout every stage of the process.
Contact a family law–certified attorney in Tampa for your child custody conflict
Sessums Law Group is committed to providing excellent child custody representation for divorcing and unmarried parents in Tampa and the greater Bay area. Please call 813-435-5058 or contact us online to schedule an appointment at our Tampa office. We also have offices in Lakeland, Sebring and Sarasota.