Child custody issues are frequently litigated in family court. These disputes can be a part of a larger divorce case, or they can occur between unmarried parents. In either situation, the rights related to raising a minor child are typically hotly contested.

If you are dealing with a difficult child custody battle, now is the time to seek out guidance from an experienced family law attorney. The outcome of these negotiations could impact your relationship with your children and the way they adjust to the divorce. A South Miami child custody lawyer can work with you to secure a fair custody plan.

Does State Law Favor Either Parent?

The laws of Florida do not favor the mother or the father when it comes to a custody determination. While it is a common misconception that mothers enjoy additional rights under the law, this is not the case. A South Miami attorney could help either parent enforce their child custody rights.

Instead of automatically favoring one parent over another, the court will award custody based on what is best for the minor child. This involves a legal theory referred to as the “best interest of the child standard.” While this standard might seem difficult to identify, there are many factors that the court must consider when deciding what is in a minor’s best interest. Some of these factors include:

  • The moral fitness of the parents;
  • Development needs of the child;
  • The willingness of the parents to foster relationships;
  • Allegations of domestic violence;
  • Parents’ health;
  • Parent’s ability to provide a safe environment.

The Judge must consider all of these relevant factors together before deciding what custody arrangement is best for the child. This final decision could be different from the specific wishes that either parent made.

The Types of Child Custody

Child custody comes in two forms, according to state law: parenting time and parental responsibility. Parenting time is often referred to as physical custody, while parental responsibility is known as legal custody in some places. A South Miami attorney could help pursue both types of child custody for a parent.

Parenting Time

The term “parenting time” involves the amount of time a parent spends with their child. This generally involves both parents sharing equal time with a child when possible. While the courts prefer an equal distribution of parenting time, these orders depend entirely on the child’s best interest. A parent with less time could also be awarded visitation with the child while they are living with the other parent. This visitation can occur under supervision, when necessary, like in cases of alleged domestic violence.

Parental Responsibility

“Parental responsibility” refers to the right to make crucial decisions about the upbringing of a child. Most prominently, this includes decisions about a child’s health, education, and religion. Like with parenting time, Florida law allows for (and prefers) joint parental responsibility shared between both parents. However, a Judge will restrict these rights in cases where it is in the best interest of the child. A parent in South Miami can work with a child custody lawyer to determine the best strategy for securing parental responsibility and parenting time.

Contact a South Miami Child Custody Attorney Today

Whether you are going through a divorce or are having a disagreement with a co-parent, child custody matters can be complicated and produce intense emotions. You have the right to hire an attorney to help you navigate this complex system.

Place a call to our law firm and let a South Miami child custody lawyer guide you to a fair and reasonable agreement with your co-parent about how to raise your child.