Fort Lauderdale Child Custody Attorney
Even if you are going through a difficult divorce, you never stop being a parent. When it comes to creating a fair child custody and parenting arrangement, you want a lawyer who will listen to your concerns and help you create a plan that works for your family. At the Fort Lauderdale law offices of Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A., we have extensive experience assisting parents with child custody matters, including time-sharing, paternity and temporary custody. Contact our experienced Fort Lauderdale child custody attorneys today.
Child Custody & Shared Parenting
In Florida, courts have moved away from using the terms “custody” and “primary residential parent.” Unlike in the past, neither parent will be “awarded custody.” Instead, a court will assign “parental responsibility” for the children—either shared or sole―and will provide for a “time-sharing” arrangement, rather than “visitation rights.” The following issues will need to be addressed when creating a parenting plan:
- Where the child will live most of the time
- When the child will spend time with the other parent
- Any specific parental responsibilities for health care and education
- How child support will be affected by the time the child spends with each parent
Generally, both parents can get sole or shared parental responsibility, which means a court will not show a preference for the mother over the father. It is the public policy in Florida to assure that children have frequent and continuing contact with both parents and that both parents should be encouraged to share the rights and responsibilities and joys of child rearing. Therefore, unless a court determines that it would be harmful to the child, it will order shared parental responsibility, so that both parents can spend as much time as possible with the child.
Courts may consider many factors when deciding issues related to child custody, but the primary concern is always the best interests of the child. For a list of factors that a judge will consider in order to determine what is in a child’s best interests, please see our child visitation rights page.
Filing for Custody
How you file for custody (parental responsibility) in Florida depends upon the circumstances of your case. If you are going through a divorce, parental responsibility will be determined during the divorce proceeding. If you are married and living apart―but have not filed for divorce―you can still file in the circuit court where your child lives.
If you are not married, you may establish parental responsibility by filing a petition to determine paternity. A court will order DNA testing, and depending on the results, will enter a parenting plan, create a time-sharing arrangement, and award child support. Also, if you are filing a petition for an injunction for protection against domestic violence, you can ask for temporary custody of your child in your petition. However, any custody order that you get would expire when the injunction expires. Let our Fort Lauderdale child custody attorneys help you.
Contact Us for Assistance with Child Custody
Whether you are seeking to establish custody and time-sharing through your divorce, or seeking parenting rights through other means, we can help you through the entire process. Please contact Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. to schedule a consultation. We represent both mothers and fathers in child custody matters in Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton and throughout Broward County.