As a parent, securing custody rights is likely to be one of the most important and most emotional aspects of your divorce. Through collaboration, mediation, or litigation, our attorneys will help you pursue the custody rights you desire.
If you are considering a divorce or are concerned that your spouse may be preparing to end your marriage, making sure you can care for and spend time with your children is understandably a top priority. At McMichen, Cinami & Demps, we have more than 50 years of combined experience helping parents in the Orlando, FL area secure custody rights for their children. We can help you understand your rights, and we will take appropriate legal action to make sure you receive custody rights that meet your goals and serve the best interests of your children.
Establishing a Parenting Plan During Your Divorce
As part of your divorce, you and your spouse will need to develop a “parenting plan” that will govern your respective time sharing, custody and visitation rights once your divorce is final. In many cases, parents are able to work together – either through collaboration or mediation – to come to terms on a parenting plan that works for both of them. Florida law requires all custody arrangements to serve the best interests of the couple’s children. With limited exceptions, this generally means spending time with both parents after the divorce.
However, if you and your spouse are unable to agree on how you will share custody rights and arrange for time sharing/visitation, then you may need to ask a judge to resolve your differences. While we focus on helping our clients avoid these kinds of disputes, if judicial intervention is necessary we will not hesitate to protect your rights in court.
Time Sharing and Parental Responsibility
In Florida, the courts and lawmakers have actually moved away from the traditional terms of “custody” and “visitation.” Today, in Florida we use the terms “time sharing” and “parental responsibility.”
In traditional terms, there are two types of custody. The first is physical custody, which refers to the time each parent will spend time with the child. The second is legal custody, which refers to the right to make important life decisions (like where to go to school or medical decisions) on a child’s behalf.
However, in Florida, these concepts are no longer clearly distinguished. Instead, time sharing and parental responsibility broadly define how divorcing spouses will split parental rights and duties in their parenting plan.
In Focus: The Best Interests of the Child
In considering time-sharing schedules and division of parental responsibility, the Florida courts focus on protecting the best interests of the children involved. Florida law lists a number of factors that are to be used in evaluating a child’s best interests; however, there are no set rules for when one parent should receive certain rights over the other. This means that there are often steps parents can take to help secure their desired custody rights. At McMichen, Cinami & Demps, we can help you put yourself in the best position possible to obtain the parenting plan you desire.
Each parent’s demonstrated capacity to encourage a close parent-child relationship and honor a time-sharing schedule
Whether either parent intends to delegate parenting responsibilities to a third party
Each parent’s ability to put the child’s needs before his or her own
The parent’s respective living environments and geographic locations
The parent’s respective physical and mental health conditions
Each parent’s familiarity with the child’s friends, teachers, doctors, and daily routine
The child’s preferences, if of sufficient “intelligence, understanding, and experience” to express them
Any history of domestic violence, neglect, or child abuse
The parents’ respective parenting duties prior to commencement of the divorce proceedings
The child’s developmental needs, and each parent’s demonstrated ability to meet those needs
Parenting Plan Modification and Enforcement
Circumstances can change in the months and years following a divorce. If your time-sharing schedule is no longer working or if you need to alter your parental responsibilities, we can help determine if you meet the standards for a modification and help you apply to the court for the modification of your parenting plan. If your former spouse is not adequately meeting his or her parental responsibilities or is refusing to adhere to your time-sharing arrangement, we can help you seek enforcement as well.
McMichen, Cinami & Demps | Divorce and Custody Lawyers in Orlando, FL
At McMichen, Cinami & Demps, we are committed to helping parents protect and enforce their legal rights. If you are preparing for a divorce, or if you need to modify or enforce an existing parenting plan, contact us today for a consultation. Let our experience help you through the difficult decisions that need to be made. We are here for you!