Tampa FL Custody Lawyer
As an experienced Tampa FL custody lawyer, Damien McKinney understands that child custody can be an especially difficult topic. Your children are always the number one priority, especially when you are going through a separation or divorce. Child custody arrangements are a major concern in these cases, primarily because you want to make the decision in the child, or children’s, best interest.
If you are searching for a Tampa FL custody lawyer to help you out, you likely already know that child custody matters can be incredibly complex. Even if you and your former partner have a great relationship, the legal processes involved with establishing custody can still be very difficult. Regardless of your relationship with your former partner, there’s no harm in contacting a custody lawyer Tampa FL can provide for more information.
Deciding on a Custody Arrangement
In Florida, a finalized divorce includes a parenting plan when children are involved. This plan streamlines what may have been multiple issues in the past by treating everything related to your children as holistic, and significant enough to deserve its own unique effort, while still treating each child as unique.
Custody, or who cares for the children, is one of the most important parts of this plan. The idea of time-sharing flows from custody. Overall, Florida encourages both parents to be involved for the best interest of the child — with the understanding that certain circumstances, like imprisonment, illness, or abuse, will impact the child’s best interests and custody arrangements.
The legal definition of custody is different from what you might think it means. Many people think a parent who has a child for the longer periods of time has sole custody over the child and the other parent is thought to only have weekend and holiday visits with their children. However, this is not always the case.
When we work out your parenting plan at The McKinney Law Group, we listen to what you share with us, carefully consider the documents you provide us, and listen to the needs of your children. As a good Tampa FL custody lawyer will likely tell you, no two custody agreements are exactly the same. Let’s take a look at three different options you can take in court for your child custody agreement.
1. Physical Custody: Someone who has physical custody of their child provides them with their primary place to live. When the time is unevenly split, one parent is labelled “primary” and the other “secondary,” Joint custody does not mean a couple splits their time exactly 50- 50 with their child, particularly if they are in school. The best interest of the child is always at the forefront of these custody agreements, so a 50-50 split is not always the best arrangement, but it is not impossible.
2. Legal Custody: The parent who has legal custody decides who gets to make important decisions for the child. Although physical and legal custody sound intertwined, the two can be exclusive. If you have any concerns about managing the legal custody of your child, don’t hesitate to speak with a Tampa FL custody lawyer about this matter.
3. Sole Custody: All of your custodial rights belong to one parent and they make all the decisions for the child. This is infrequent, but it can be the best option if the other parent is unfit to care for the child. One such exception can be if your former spouse has substance abuse issues or have mistreated or abused your child; then sole custody would be the obvious option.
Your Children and the “Best Interest Standard”
During or after your divorce, family law in Florida bases decisions about your children around the standard of best interest. This means that the most important factor in custody, time-sharing, and other outcomes is what is best for your children. Of course, this is different for every family. It can even be different for each child in a family. Contact a Tampa FL custody lawyer to create a parenting plan that satisfies the best interest standard in Florida.
Tampa FL custody lawyer Damien McKinney helps clients understand Florida’s best interest standard as it relates to child custody, visitation, and other decisions. We know you want the best for your children. The McKinney Law Group creates parenting plans that help you prove it.
The best interest standard impacts all the decisions about your children. Even if you’re modifying a prior divorce agreement or parenting plan due to changed circumstances or the other parent’s failure to comply, the best interest standard still applies. As an experienced Tampa FL custody lawyer, Damien McKinney is able to work with you to keep pace with change and care for your children the best way possible.
The best interest standard is considered for the following:
-Time children spend with each parent
-Division of general and specific parental responsibilities
-How each parent shows their ability to care for the children
-The ability of each parent to put their children’s needs first
-Geography, like when children travel or where they attend school
-The ability of each parent to maintain a healthy routine
-The ability of each parent to communicate with the other
-The overall moral fitness of each parent
-The reasonable preference of each child
This list is not comprehensive, but it should give you a good idea of how important this standard is. Ultimately, it’s about what’s best for each of your children — which we know is what you want, too.
Courts Prefer Both Parental Involvement
If it is in the best interest of the child and doesn’t present any danger, then the court prefers that the child maintain a healthy relationship requiring the involvement of both parents. Sometimes a court will grant joint legal custody even in cases where one parent has sole physical custody. This could also result in a pretty liberal visitation schedule.
Joint legal custody allows both parents to make major decisions for the well-being of their child together despite the physical custody arrangement. Schooling, medical matters and religious involvement are aspects of your child’s life that you must compromise on together.
If you are unsure, consult a Tampa FL custody lawyer sooner rather than later. They can help guide you through a fairly difficult process and manage all your priorities while you adjust to this new chapter. Further, they may help you determine a fair and optimum custody agreement for your child.
Contact a Tampa Custody Lawyer Today
If you are dealing with a child custody matter, we encourage you to contact The McKinney Law Group to set up a consultation with one of our team members. To arrange a free consultation with a Tampa FL custody lawyer, please call our office today.