If you are getting a divorce and there is a child under 18 involved, you may be looking for a family visitation attorney in Florida that can help you secure a parenting plan with designated time-sharing. But who can you trust, and where do you begin this process?
Thankfully, many qualified attorneys in Florida are experts in our state’s evolving laws surrounding time-sharing policies. They work daily to settle visitation disputes between parents, whether married or not, and they are not intimidated by contentious cases requiring extensive court time.
The following is not legal advice but merely information that will give you an idea of the path ahead of you. It’s a long road, but you can make it.
If you want to find a quality lawyer, ask the most trusted people in your life. Chances are that a friend or business associate has recently gone through a custody dispute or knows someone who has and can make recommendations.
Meeting with your attorney is a necessary business appointment, and it’s in your best interest to take it seriously.
At your first meeting, be ready to take notes. Bring a list of questions you may have, and prepare the facts of your story concisely, on a single page or two, so that the lawyer will know the names of the adults and children in the dispute, the facts of the separation, and anything else that might be pertinent to your case.
Inquire about payment before you arrive. Many attorneys expect an immediate payment, and some may require a $5000-$7000 retainer. Don’t get caught unawares—ask first!
Florida Child Custody Quick Guide
Here is a quick custody guide that will help you as you begin settling a custody arrangement.
Custody Lawyer’s Role: It’s the role of your family lawyer to always act in the child’s best wishes. Additionally, your lawyer will look out for your rights as a father and fight to ensure you receive all of the time you deserve with your child.
Out-of-date Terms and Ideas: The term “custody” itself is outdated. Today, the courts in Florida use the term “time-sharing.” The assumption that a mother is the more nurturing of the two parents and thus should get preferred time with the child is also a relic of the past. Mothers used to be designated the “primary residential parent”—another antiquated term—but today, the court views parents as co-equal members in a legal agreement.
Mediation Plan: The ultimate goal of a divorce is to settle on a mediation plan that satisfies both sides. Your visitation attorneys will do their best to work with your partner’s attorneys to create a mediation plan that will benefit both sides and save costly time in front of a judge.
Common Custody Arrangements: Judges most commonly assign the custody schedules below. You might want to consider which arrangement would work in your situation:
- Weekly exchange: If parents both work regular daytime hours, this arrangement works well as it causes the least disruption for the child.
- Two weeks at a time: Teenagers often prefer this setup, and parents with flexible work schedules can plan their heaviest work or travel when they do not have custody responsibilities.
- A 3/4 -4/3 schedule: This schedule splits the week in half and rotates which parent gets the extra day each week.
- A 2/2, 5/5 schedule: This schedule gives each parent two days on, two days off, then a long five-day period of custody, followed by five days off.
- A 2/3/2 schedule: This arrangement requires the child to change hands between parents every two or three days.
Contact Us Today
At WhitbeckBennett, we have experienced visitation attorneys who know how to handle any case with care, compassion, and convenience. We are here to guide you if you are considering a divorce and have questions about the custody of your child. Call 800-516-3964 or contact us here to speak with our team of attorneys today.