There’s nothing more difficult for many divorcing parents than the process of deciding who gets custody of their child, or how often visitation will occur. No matter how you make your arrangements, someone is going to be missing out on valuable time with your kids. If you’re involved in a child custody dispute, you want to be sure that you’ll be able to properly parent your child or children: you need an attorney who will help you negotiate, prepare your arguments, and take your case before a judge if necessary. Contact us today at (727) 269-5300 for a free consultation, or to learn more about how we can help you build your child custody case.
At Khonsari Law Group, we have extensive experience with child custody cases. We’ve helped many parents come to equitable arrangements, both in the initial stages after a divorce when they’re struggling to decide how to share the child’s time, and in later stages, as the child grows and their needs change. We’ve successfully shifted primary custody to a different parent when the child’s needs have changed or the custodial parent is no longer caring for the child’s needs; we’ve helped parents renegotiate holidays or visitation; and we’ve mediated situations when one parent needs to move out of the area. Regardless of the scenario, our experienced attorneys want to help you reach an arrangement that will work best for you and your child.
Child Custody Considerations
Whether you’re in the middle of a divorce, or you’ve been separated from your child’s parent for years, there are several situations when child custody concerns might arise. These can include, for example:
- Separation of the child’s parents for the first time, when the child’s time needs to be divided between them
- One parent’s failure to take advantage of visitation hours
- One parent moving out of the area
- Changes in the child’s needs as they grow
- One parent’s failure to provide for the child
If you’re struggling with a child custody dispute, it’s important to work with an experienced lawyer. This will ensure that you’re treated fairly throughout every stage of the process, and can maximize the odds of an outcome in your best interests.
Who Is Involved in Custody Disputes?
When it comes to a child custody dispute, there are generally two parties involved: the child’s parents. In some cases, however, grandparents, stepparents, and others involved in the child’s daily care may also have rights to some of the child’s time. When these disputes arise, it’s important to involve a lawyer as early as possible; laws governing child custody, visitation, and parenting are complex, and it’s wise to consult an attorney experienced in Florida family law.
What Factors Go Into Custody Considerations?
When courts consider child custody arrangements, there are a number of factors that need to be evaluated. The “standard” arrangement of spending every other weekend with the noncustodial parent may not work for everyone involved; if you’re trying to settle a custody arrangement for your child or children, make sure you’re considering:
- Starting school: If you have a young child, their school schedule might not be the most important item on your list of things to consider—but it should be. Do you want your child to be with the same parent during the school week? Is it important to have a continuous routine each day of the week in your family?
- Holidays: Are there specific holidays that are more important to one parent than the other? Many standard custody arrangements include alternating holidays: Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve with one parent while Christmas with the other, and vice-versa the following year. It’s important, however, to take both families’ holiday plans into consideration when making these arrangements to best meet everyone’s needs.
- School breaks: How do you want to divide breaks from school when it comes to child custody? You might, for example, choose to alternate school breaks, allowing one parent fall break and the other spring. This can also alternate years. Consider whether or not the noncustodial parent, for example, would prefer an extended period of time during summer vacation.
- Summer camps, sleepovers, and trips: As your child gets older, there will be more overnight and long-term activities that they want to be involved in. How should you handle those activities when they fall on a week or weekend designated to the noncustodial parent? Be sure to leave your child some room to decide how they want to handle those activities; as children age closer to adulthood, parents should try to accommodate their growing minors as much as possible.
- Siblings: The more children you have, the more complicated custody arrangements can become. Siblings may have different needs based on their activities, ages, future plans, and more. Do you want to keep siblings together at all times, or are you willing to split siblings based on their specific needs? Consider how the changing needs of your children will impact child custody arrangements.
- Special concerns: How do you want to handle overnight guests when the child is with their other parent? Many parents, for example, choose to include a clause that neither parent can have unrelated overnight guests when they have the child in their care. Do you want to specify no drinking when the child is in the house? This may also be included in your custody arrangement. Working with a lawyer is one of the most effective ways to be sure that you’ve thought through all the details associated with your custody case, and to minimize the chances of a later dispute.
How Much Will a Custody Lawyer Cost?
Having a lawyer is critical when you’re fighting for custody of your child or designing a custody arrangement, but you may worry that it will be an expensive proposition. Contact us for a free consultation to learn more about what legal fees to expect, and how we can help accommodate you throughout your child custody case. In many cases, we can work out payment arrangements that will work for you, especially if you’re working to acquire child support at the same time. If you’re involved in a custody dispute in the St. Petersburg area, contact us today at (727) 269-5300. We’ll work with you to create a fair, equitable child custody arrangement that promotes the best interests of you and your child.