West Palm Beach Child Custody Lawyers Protect the Rights of Parents and Children
If you’re experiencing legal issues involving child custody, you probably feel anxious and uncertain about what steps you should take to protect your family. Child custody issues can be complicated and challenging to navigate without the help of a trained legal professional.
RTRLAW understands that nothing is more important to you than the safety and security of your children. One of our family law attorneys’ main objectives is to help our clients resolve their custody issues and develop a plan that’s in the best interests of their children.
If you need a child custody lawyer to help you resolve custody issues, contact RTRLAW by calling (561) 331-6920 in West Palm Beach or our toll-free number, 1-833-HIRE-RTR (833-447-3787), to schedule a consultation with a family law attorney. We can discuss your legal options and advise you on the best course for your situation.
What Type of Child Custody is Available in Florida?
Child custody in Florida is separated into sole and joint custody. Sole custody is rarely awarded today and only if the court deems it to be in the child’s best interests. Instead, the typical custody arrangement is joint custody.
However, there are four distinct types of custody that may be awarded to parents, including:
- Sole physical custody: When one parent retains the primary residence for the child. The other parent may be granted visitation rights through a parenting plan, often at the court’s discretion.
- Joint physical custody: When both parents maintain a primary residence and act as caregivers for their child.
- Sole parental responsibility: This type of custody was previously referred to as sole legal custody. In a case where a parent is awarded sole parental responsibility, one parent retains full parenting rights and the ability to make significant decisions for the child.
- Joint legal custody: In this type of custody, both parents have an equal say in major decisions that must be made for the child, which often include where they will live, where they will go to school, and their religious values.
Child custody may be ultimately decided by a judge and will be based on what the court believes is in the child’s best interest. Therefore, one of the best decisions you can make to protect your parental rights is to hire a well-qualified child custody lawyer to ensure your voice is heard during court proceedings.
Can a Child Choose Which Parent to Live with in Florida?
Many people mistakenly assume that once a child turns a certain age in Florida, they have the legal right to decide which parent they would prefer to live with at that time. However, this is a misconception, as Florida does not have a law that defines a specific age at which a child may make such decisions.
Instead, Florida courts consider the child’s intelligence and maturity when trying to decide if they should be allowed to stay with a particular parent. The court considers more than the child’s expressed preference when making custody determinations. However, the child’s desire to live with one parent over the other will be taken into account by the judge only when specific criteria are met. For example, Florida law strongly emphasizes the principle that individuals should participate in co-parenting and share responsibilities. Therefore, a child should have frequent and continuing contact with both parents to help them develop into happy, well-adjusted adults.
The court does take into account the following issues as they pertain to the child’s preference when deciding child custody matters:
- The child has the mental and emotional capacity to make this type of decision.
- The child understands the long-term consequences of choosing one parent over the other.
- The child has ample experience with each parent.
What Legal Options Do I Have if My Child’s Other Parent Will Not Follow the Custody Arrangement?
In some child custody situations, one of the parents may refuse to comply with the court order. In other cases, one parent may use their child and parenting time to manipulate the other parent. Many parents fail to realize that they can be found in contempt of court for not following the custody agreement. The court may find it necessary to begin custody enforcement procedures when this occurs.
If a parent is held in contempt of a court order, they could face criminal charges, steep fines, and even time in jail. Additionally, the parent could run the risk of losing visitation privileges or custody rights.
Some of the most common issues that could cause a parent to face a contempt of court charge or custody enforcement procedures are:
- The parent will not allow the child to visit the other parent, even when it is clearly outlined in the parenting plan.
- The parent will not adhere to the time-sharing/visitation agreement and allow the other parent their scheduled time but instead insists on a time that is convenient for them.
- The parent does not return the child at the time stipulated in the parenting plan.
- The parent takes the child out of state without discussing it with the other parent beforehand or does so without court approval.
Parents should be aware that if they take a child out of state without the other parent’s permission, they could be in violation of the Uniform Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). This act grants courts the legal authority to issue an emergency order demanding the child’s return to their state of residence.
If you’re a parent experiencing issues related to the other parent not complying with the custody schedule or other court orders, contact RTRLAW and schedule a consultation with one of our child custody lawyers, who can advise you of your rights and what legal options you may have available.
Why Should I Choose RTRLAW to Represent Me in a Child Custody Case?
No matter what child custody issues you may be dealing with, RTRLAW’s experienced family law attorneys are dedicated to assisting clients in resolving the custody issues affecting their family’s well-being. We recognize that child custody issues may be overwhelming, especially when you feel they may harm your children.
As child custody lawyers, we will represent you and work to achieve an outcome that is favorable to your needs and those of your child. Our lawyers have vast experience in successfully resolving contentious issues, such as who will have custody of the child and how visitation schedules should be worked out to meet the child’s best interest.
If you want more information about how we can assist you with your child custody issues, contact RTRLAW in West Palm Beach, and schedule a consultation with one of our child custody attorneys. For your convenience, call us at (561) 331-6920 or toll free at 1-833-HIRE-RTR (833-447-3787) for a no-obligation case review with a qualified legal team member.