Miami child custody lawyer Grant Dwyer can answer all your questions about this important issue. This doesn’t need to be a fight, but it is often an emotional issue and it may be the most important process you go through as you settle the questions about with whom your child will spend his time. You want a lawyer who is a parent – even a divorced parent – who understands what it means to you to lay your child down in your bed, or to eat a meal with your child, to listen to him laugh or tell a story. There is no part of our lives as parents that is more important to us than being there for our kids. At Grant Dwyer Law, we get that. We have represented clients charged with criminal offenses that carry life sentences, but we still believe that keeping a child with a parent is the most important thing we can do as a lawyer.
In Miami the courts use what they call a “best interests of the child” standard to decide child custody. There is a nation wide law called the Uniform Child Custody and Enforcement Act that Florida relies on, as do most other states. There are two types of custody that courts determine – legal and physical. Legal custody gives a parent the right to make important life decisions for the child about school, religion, doctors, and the best way to raise the child. The other type of custody, physical custody, has to do with where the child will actually be living and sleeping.
The FIRST THING we tell clients about child custody in Miami is that Florida courts will ALWAYS prefer an arrangement called “time sharing”, which is what used to be known as shared custody. Only in extreme circumstances will the courts award full custody, with no timesharing to one parent. That doesn’t mean it is impossible, but is very rare. And the courts can hold it against one parent if they are seeking to have sole custody. That is why it is important you work with a good, honest child custody lawyer who will tell you the truth, not just one who will tell you what you would like to hear.
Courts believe it is almost always in the “best interests of the child” to be with both parents over time.
Courts like to see that parents, with the help of their family lawyers, create what is called a “Parenting Plan”, or agreement to a time sharing schedule. These plans involve more than just drop offs and pick ups, however. They address who is responsible for what, and who makes what decisions. They are specific about times and places and days of the week, as well as holidays – which can always be challenging.
If a good parenting plan is agreed upon, and it addresses legal and physical custody, a Miami court will likely accept it. If you have any questions about the BEST parenting plan for your child, contact a Miami child custody lawyer at Grant Dwyer Law.
Sometimes it is not possible to reach an agreement with your child’s other parent. In these situations, the court must do the hard work and determine the best plan. Remember, the court will be focusing on the “best interests” of your child. The judge can take many things into account, like:
- each parent’s house
- how long the child has lived where they currently are
- the health of the parents – both physical and emotional
- whether each parent has demonstrated their capacity to provide stability
- whether each parent has demonstrated their chapacity to communicate well with the other one
- the moral character of the parents
- any history of violence
- any history of substance abuse
- any preference an older child may have as to where he lives
This is just a short list and these issues can be complicated. It is crucial you speak with a trusted custody attorney to prepare for this determination.
If you have any of these issues you should contact a Miami custody lawyer at Grant Dwyer Law as soon as you can.
Call us at 305-215-7586 or click HERE.