Florida Child Custody Lawyer

Florida Child Custody Attorney

Children must adjust to Divorce in Florida – You can help! Steven D. Miller, P.A. is an experience Florida child custody attorney that can help keep the process as easy as possible so you can spend your time focusing on helping them transition through this difficult time.

Look, if your kids are old enough, they have plenty of friends whose parents are divorced; they know what goes on.  Make this difficult time for them as uneventful as possible.  Personal experience tells us that young children (under 10) will be fine as will older children (17+).  It’s the 10-17 year old that needs lots of attention.

Watch your kids and keep their routine the same.  Make sure they are doing their schoolwork.  The marital settlement agreement or final judgment of dissolution (if you don’t reach agreement) will make provisions for each parent to be involved in the child’s health, education and welfare.  Children are this country’s most important assets!  Do everything to keep them happy and safe.  Life goes fast, very fast especially for the children of divorced parents.  Yes, it happens to lots of families and your children will undoubtedly have friends whose parents have divorced.  That doesn’t make it any easier for your children; it just gives them someone to commiserate with.  If your children are grown (i.e., over 18) when you get divorced, make sure not to ignore them for they will surely feel the impact albeit in a different way than the younger children.

Who is Responsible for Raising the Children in a Florida Divorce?

“Best Interests of the Children” is all you need to know about how you should deal with all child related issues including, but not limited to, “custody” and visitation issues. The concept of “custody” does not exist in Florida divorce cases any longer.  Instead, we talk in terms of parenting plans and timesharing.  That said, we understand exactly what you are talking about if you use the term.  The Florida divorce judge assigned to your case cares about that issue above all else.

In theory, both parents should share in making major decisions that impact the children: health, education, and religion being the most significant.  Unless there is some compelling reason why one parent shouldn’t be involved in these decisions, you will have shared parental responsibility. On a day-to-day basis, the parent that has the children makes decisions about what they eat, wear to school, shows they watch on T.V., computer time and, most importantly, bedtime.  It’s always best if parents discuss and resolve differences of opinions regarding day-to-day living.  The judge assigned to your case does not want to micromanage the lives of your children.  Look, if one parent isn’t giving Timmy his asthma medicine sure, go see the judge.  Other than a health or safety issue, don’t bother; waste of time and money.

Where Will the Children Live if Child Custody is split?

One parent will be designated as the “primary address” for school registration purposes.  However, both parents are entitled to time with the children and are required to have a parenting plan in place that will let the parties and the court know who will have the children and when.  Florida divorce law does not “speak” in terms of custody but that is the term we are all familiar with.   Do what’s best for your children.  They need both parents in their lives.  Unless there is a compelling reason not to agree and let a Florida divorce judge make the decision, reach an agreement with your spouse.   You’ll be glad you did.  The concept of the parenting plan was implemented in order to compel parents to have a detailed plan regarding when each parent will have the children; birthdays, holidays; who will pick up/drop off; responsibility for payment of extracurricular activities.  The reason for this is simple:  stay out of court.  Look, you can always change it around, on your own, without going to court as the need arises – the plan talks about that.  Do your best to stay out of court after the divorce is finalized for your peace of mind, money and sake of your children.

Parenting Class for Divorcing Parents

Both parents are required to attend a parenting class if you have minor children and are filing a Florida divorce case.  The certificates of completion must be filed before the final hearing or trial.  Click here for a list of the parent classes in your area.  ARE accepted.  The parenting class is actually quite good.  Dissolution of marriage is also dissolution of the family unit and you need to prepare for how that will affect you and the children.  The parenting class is designed to make you aware of issues that will invariably arise and how best to deal with them.  Remember, it’s all about one thing:  the best interests of your children.  Make their transition as uneventful as possible.  Don’t wear you emotions on your sleeve; don’t inject them into your issues; don’t talk badly about the other parent (even though they may full well deserve it).  DO everything in your power to keep their day-to-day activities running on schedule.  When they are tucked away in bed, sit down, have a glass of wine should you be so inclined and be thankful that you are doing the best thing for your children. 

Florida Child Custody & Relocation of Minor Children

Want to move more than 50 miles from your present location with the children? Not so fast.  You must get permission from your spouse (in writing) or the Florida divorce judge.  The parent who wants to relocate with the child must present evidence to the judge that a move more than 50 miles from the present location (“as the crow flies”) is in the best interests of the child.  There are a number of factors the court will consider.

The primary consideration in a Florida relocation case is how the relocating parent will continue to foster the other parent’s relationship with the children and how, after relocating, the other parent will be able to maintain a visitation schedule.  Florida divorce and family law judges will tell you that a petition for relocation of a minor child is one of the only issues that require a hearing as parents rarely agree on relocation.   If the non-relocating parent has a good relationship with their children, relocation is difficult.  Not impossible, just difficult.

Life forever changes when distance is placed between parent and child; it’s inevitable.  If one parent gets the children every other weekend, lives within 50 miles of the children – that is a “doable” schedule.  If the other parent desires to relocate more than 50 miles, that every other weekend thing just isn’t going to work out – no way, no how.  If allowed, the non-relocating parent’s frequency of time with the children will change and not in a good way.  If both parents are good parents, and do what they are supposed to do when they are supposed to do it, not likely a judge will allow relocation.  On the other hand, if the non-relocating spouse rarely sees the children, isn’t current on child support, lives in a van but is otherwise a very nice person, a much better chance that relocation will be allowed.

When its time to leave (or relocate) . . . call Steve.

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