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Child custody basics for Florida families

If you have questions about your particular legal situation, then you’ve come to the right place. We here at Morris & Hancock, PA understand how frustrating the law can seem to someone who has not extensively studied the law. By establishing this blog, we hope to provide answers to Orlando families who might have questions about their family law issues.

Child custody is one such area of the law where a lot of people across Florida have the most questions. When most people hear the term child custody, they think of arrangements made during the divorce process. Though this is true, divorce is only one part of child custody. Child custody issues can arise from a number of situations such as:

  • Parents are in a relationship but not married
  • Child is conceived by a man who is not the woman’s husband
  • Same-sex partners who have chosen surrogacy
  • And when a child’s parents lose custody of their children

Whatever the reason, there are specific steps that the courts will take when resolving a child custody dispute. The first step is for the courts to determine what is in the child’s best interest. In most cases, shared custody is considered the better option because it ensures that the child will have “frequent and continuing contact with both parents.” In some cases though, it may be better for one parent to have custody or for a relative to take custody, especially if the child could be put in harm’s way with another custody arrangement.

Once the courts have established custody, they will then approve or help create an appropriate parenting plan that will outline the time-sharing schedule, each parent’s responsibility to the child, and even who has the authority to make decisions regarding the child’s schooling, health care and even their religion.

Even though the courts will try to do what is in the child’s best interest, you may still want legal representation to make sure that your rights are in fact being taken into consideration and that the final custody arrangement affords you these rights. We provide such representation here at Morris & Hancock, PA and can help you with your family law issue.

Source: The Florida Bar, “Divorce In Florida Pamphlet,” Accessed March 6, 2015

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