We all love our children and want what’s best for them. It’s no surprise then that child support and custody matters are among the most contentious and emotionally charged issues in many divorce cases.
Too often, parents think involving an attorney will make matters even more contentious. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Choosing a dedicate legal advocate with significant experience in all areas of family law is vital when fighting for child support or child custody in Orlando. Both because she can help take emotions out of the equation, and because child custody and support are incredibly complex matters that can impact your family and your finances for years to come.
F.S. Title VI Chapter 61 is the Florida law dealing with dissolution of marriage, support and time-sharing. It requires all child support orders contain a provision for health insurance for minor children and courts to order shared parenting unless detrimental to the child. There has been a move toward shared parenting in Florida in recent years, as the courts recognize involvement of both parents in a child’s life is often in the best interest of everyone. However, there are still many cases in which one parent is awarded primary custody.
Determining Child Custody Under Florida Law
Custody in Florida is broken down into “time sharing” and “parental responsibility.” Time sharing means physical time spent with the child, while parental responsibility means making critical decisions for a child, such as religion, schooling and health-care matters.
Factors taken into consideration by law include demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent; length of time a child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity; geographic availability of one or both parents; moral fitness and mental and physical health of parents; reasonable preferences of a child; and a host of other factors, including past or present domestic violence or abuse.
Modifying Child Custody or Child Support in Florida
Parents seeking child support must also be vigilant in negotiating fair support at the outset. Unfortunately, the temptation is too often to focus on child custody and use support or alimony to some extent as a bargaining chip. However, Florida’s child support laws have gone a long way toward addressing foreseeable issues at the outset, include medical care and a set termination date for payments. Family court may reject future modification of a custody or support order without a substantial, material change in circumstances.
Relocation or away custody is another contentious issue. Florida courts will generally agree to allow one parent to relocate with a child only if both parents sign a written agreement. Whether moving because of a job transfer, to be closer to family, or just to make a fresh start, a parent wishing to relocate with a child without a signed consent agreement must notify the other parent and file a petition with the court.
These and many other complex legal issues left undiscussed mean hiring an experience child custody lawyer is critical when fighting for child custody or child support in Orlando or elsewhere in Central Florida.
The FAB Law Firm offers a free consultation, with offices in Orlando, Lakeland and Lake Mary. Call 407-495-1818.