Tampa Child Custody Lawyer
Protect Your Child's Best Interests & Your Parental Rights
One of the most emotional and contentious issues in a divorce is child custody. The children’s welfare is the most important part of any divorce, and we only want the best for your children.
At Givens Law Group, our child custody lawyers in Tampa, Florida, are fully dedicated to helping parents transition from married to single life. We understand that your children’s well-being is crucial to you. We will stand by you throughout your divorce to help give you peace of mind that your children will be cared for in the manner that you feel is appropriate.
If you have questions or concerns about your custody situation, contact our Tampa child custody attorneys at Givens Law Group today at (813) 328-6159 or by contacting us online.
Parenting Plan Requirements in Florida
Since October 1, 2008, Florida courts have followed a revised statute in determining issues regarding minor children in the dissolution of marriage. This statute prescribes that all cases with minor children have a parenting plan. At minimum, a parenting plan will be required to describe:
- How the parents will share and be responsible for daily tasks associated with raising the child;
- The amount of time the child will spend with each parent, as specified by the time-sharing schedule;
- Which parent will be responsible for health care, school-related matters, and other activities; and
- The methods and technologies each parent will use for communicating with the child.
The child custody lawyers at Givens Law Group are experienced negotiators who can help you create a parenting plan that keeps your child's best interests at heart. We fight for the rights of both mothers and fathers, using our expertise to ensure that all custody and visitation decisions are fair and reasonable.
How Does the Court Make Decisions Regarding Custody in Florida?
Parents are expected to consider the best interests of their child when developing a parenting plan. The court looks at how well the parenting plan addresses the child’s needs, while also considering the parents’ wishes.
More specifically, Section 61.13 of the Florida Statutes states that:
For purposes of establishing or modifying parental responsibility and creating, developing, approving, or modifying a parenting plan, including a time-sharing schedule, which governs each parent's relationship with his or her minor child and the relationship between each parent with regard to his or her minor child, the best interest of the child shall be the primary consideration.
The law goes on to explain that the "determination of the best interests of the child shall be made by evaluating all of the factors affecting the welfare and interests of the minor child." When a court makes a decision about custody, they will look at many different factors of your family’s life, such as:
- The capacity of each parent to continue a close parent-child relationship
- The capacity of each parent to honor the time-sharing arrangement
- The capacity of each parent to act upon the needs of the child as opposed to their own needs
- The reasonable preference of the child (for older children only)
- The mental and physical health of both parents
- The moral fitness of both parents
- The developmental stages of the child and the ability of each parent to meet those needs
- The ability of both parents to maintain a healthy environment for the child
Types of Child Custody in Florida
Depending on the needs of your child and their relationship with either parent, the court will determine what type of custody arrangement is best for your family.
There are four types of custody arrangements in Florida:
- Joint Custody - This type of custody allows both parents to share visitation and decision-making ability of their child. The court will most likely award joint custody to you and your ex-spouse, because it is usually best for the child to have a relationship with both their parents.
- Sole Custody - If one parent is seen as unfit, the court may award sole custody to the other parent. This type of custody gives all decision making power to the one parent, and usually means that the child will reside in that parent's home the majority of the time.
- Physical Custody - This type of custody determines where a child will live. A child may live with one parent the majority of the time, or they may be able to split the time equally. If one parent lives too far away, it is less likely that they will receive joint physical custody.
- Legal Custody - This type of custody determines the decision making ability for both parents. It is usually best for both parents to have equal say in their child's life, however, if the court views one parent as unfit, they may grant sole legal custody to the parent with physical custody.
What is the Most Common Type of Child Custody in Florida?
The most common type of child custody arrangement is joint or shared custody in Florida. The courts prefer to rule on joint legal custody as long as it's in the children's best interest. The benefit of joint legal custody is that the children grow up with equal parental influence.
Our team of experienced child custody lawyers can help you determine which type of custody is most ideal for you and your child and guide you to a favorable resolution. We are board-certified experts in family law and are prepared to fight for your family's best interests.
Can a Father Take a Child Away From the Mother in Florida?
A father can only take a child away from the mother after obtaining a court order in Florida first. If a father attempts to do so, a mother should contact the police. According to Florida law, anyone who tries to take the child without a court order faces charges of "interference with custody."
Can I Change an Established Custody Agreement?
The Florida courts are often hesitant to change an established custody agreement; they want to make sure the child has as much stability and consistency in their lives as possible. However, if you feel that your child is in danger, it is important that you speak with an attorney right away. An emergency custody modification can be effected in the case of abuse, abandonment, neglect, or any other type of potentially harmful situation.
Can I Relocate If I Have Primary Custody of My Child?
There are laws in Florida that prohibit the primary custodial parent from moving the child’s residence farther than 50 miles away from the current location without obtaining a court order or written permission from the other parent. If you are interested in moving your child’s primary residence, it is in your best interests to speak with a lawyer. He or she can help you file the proper paperwork and assist you in the process.
Contact a Tampa Child Custody Lawyer at Givens Law Group to Learn More
At Givens Law Group, our child custody attorneys in Tampa can help you traverse the complicated arena of divorce. If you are confused about how to approach the custodial aspect of your divorce, you need to speak with a qualified professional who is familiar with Florida child custody laws. Our firm has decades of collective experience, and we work hard to ensure our clients are satisfied and receive the outcome they desire.
Contact a Tampa child custody lawyer at Givens Law Group to discuss your options: (813) 328-6159.
Our family of attorneys is dedicated to our clients and believe they should all be supported like family.
We believe that all family law issues should be resolved in a fair and timely manner.
Our firm uses our decades of experience to provide your family with the knowledge and expertise that you deserve.