Miami Child Custody Lawyer Protecting Families
Trusted counsel in emotional child custody matters
Child custody is often one of the most contentious issues in a divorce. At The Law Offices of Lawrence S. Katz, P.A., we understand that child custody battles can be emotionally and mentally draining. You may be anxious about your children being away from you for extended periods and wonder about their well-being. When your children’s welfare is at stake, select a law firm with the experience to face any challenge. Since 1968, we have represented spouses in intricate family law disputes in South Florida, throughout the United States and abroad. We can help you, too.
Child custody in Florida
In Florida, courts determine all matters relating to custody of children according to the best interests of the child and the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. Absent a history of abuse or neglect, children should have frequent and continuing contact with both parents. Both parents should participate in and bear the responsibilities of child rearing following a divorce or dissolution of marriage.
What factors affect a custody determination?
Fathers are accorded the same consideration as mothers in determining primary residence, regardless of the age or sex of the child. When ordering a parenting and time-sharing plan for the child, the court's primary consideration is the best interest of the child. To determine the best interest of the child, the court considers:
- Each parent’s demonstrated capacity and disposition to:
- Facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship, to honor the time-sharing schedule, and to be reasonable when changes are required
- Determine, consider and act upon the needs of the child as opposed to the needs or desires of the parent
- Provide a consistent routine for the child, such as discipline, and daily schedules for homework, meals, and bedtime
- Participate and be involved in the child’s school and extracurricular activities
- Maintain an environment for the child which is free from substance abuse
- The geographic viability of the parenting plan, with special attention paid to the needs of school-age children and the amount of time to be spent traveling to effectuate the parenting plan. This factor does not create a presumption for or against relocation of either parent with a child.
- Length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity
- The particular parenting tasks customarily performed by each parent and the division of parental responsibilities before the institution of litigation and during the pending litigation, including the extent to which parenting responsibilities were undertaken by third parties
- Each parent’s demonstrated capacity to communicate with and keep the other parent informed of issues and activities regarding the minor child, and the willingness of each parent to adopt a unified front on all major issues when dealing with the child
- Each parent’s demonstrated knowledge, capacity and disposition to be informed of the circumstances of the minor child, including but not limited to, the child’s friends, teachers, medical care providers, daily activities and favorite things
- The developmental stages and needs of the child and the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to meet the child’s developmental needs
- Each parent’s capacity and disposition to protect the child from the ongoing litigation as demonstrated by not discussing the litigation with the child, not sharing documents or electronic media related to the litigation with the child, and refraining from disparaging comments about the other parent to the child
- The anticipated division of parental responsibilities after the litigation, including the extent to which parental responsibilities will be delegated to third parties
- Moral fitness of the parents
- Mental and physical health of the parents
- Home, school and community record of the child
- Reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding and experience to express a preference
- Evidence of domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect, regardless of whether a prior or pending action relating to those issues has been brought
- Evidence that any party has knowingly provided false information to the court regarding any prior or pending action regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect
- Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant
What is a parenting plan?
In 2008, Florida law changed significantly, and traditional notions of child custody and visitation were replaced with the concepts of parenting plans and time-sharing. A parenting plan is a plan that addresses all aspects of parents’ rights and responsibilities with respect to their children. Parenting plans apply to international child custody matters and domestic custody matters alike.
Parenting plans may be established by agreement of the parents or by a judge. Plans established by the parents are subject to court approval to ensure that the plan is in the best interests of the children. Once a plan is approved by the court and incorporated in the final divorce judgment, both parties must comply with the plan.
What is time-sharing?
One of the most important parts of a parenting plan is the portion setting out the terms of the parties’ time-sharing arrangement. The plan should clearly state where the children are going to live, how much time the children spend with the noncustodial parent and holiday visitation.
What if my ex refuses to comply with our parenting plan?
A parent who fails to comply with the parenting plan may be subject to court fines or contempt. Parents may not withhold time-sharing (visitation) because of the failure to pay child support payments. Likewise, a parent may not stop paying child support because the other parent is withholding time-sharing (visitation).
Contact a Miami child custody lawyer to schedule a meeting
The Law Offices of Lawrence S. Katz, P.A. understands the sensitive nature of child custody battles. We provide professional, compassionate representation from your first meeting with us until the end of your case. No matter what custody issues you face, we help you quickly reach the resolution that is best for your family. Contact us at 786-991-2629 or online to schedule a consultation. Se habla español.