Orlando Child Custody Lawyer
Sean Smallwood is an Orlando child custody attorney who understands that your future with your children will be determined by a list of legal factors in the Florida statute. He also understands that your custody lawyer must understand how to apply these factors to your case and the importance of having a strategy.
Any child support lawyer will tell you, that child custody or child support battles are never easy, but with the right legal team on your side, you can rest a little easier knowing you have a much better chance of achieving the outcome you desire.
The most common argument for custody issues comes when one parent accuses the other of being unsafe, thus, requiring a more limited time-sharing schedule with the children involved in the case. This is commonly due to accusations of substance abuse, domestic violence, and neglect of children to name a few. In this type of situation, the divorce lawyers will argue over the amount of time the children spend with each parent in the case. Some parents attempt to seek more time with the children as this has a direct impact on the child support amount that will be ordered in the case. This often leads to divorcing parents making the types of allegations discussed above.
Other types of issues that can lead to a contested divorce include when the parties formed a business during the marriage, there is a claim for alimony, and where a party is self-employed and there is a question about accurate income.
At Sean Smallwood Orland Divorce & Family Law, we have successfully handled hundreds of child custody and child support cases, and we continue to find ways to get our clients the best results possible. In the State of Florida, it is believed that every child has the right to be financially supported by both parents if at all possible. As a result, child support will always be an issue that a family law attorney or divorce lawyer has to address at some point when dealing with child-related cases.
How Common Is Equal 50/50 Custody These Days
A decade ago divorcing parents fighting over custody of their children could expect that the mother would be awarded the majority of the time-sharing with the children with the Father spending every other weekend with the children. This was due in large part to the fact that judges in that era adhered largely to a way of thinking known as the tender years doctrine. The tender years doctrine essentially states that a child should spend the majority of their time with the mother until the age of four or above. This old way of thinking stood as an impenetrable wall to fathers (hence the need for fathers’ rights lawyers in Orlando) who sought more time with their children after a divorce.
As time went on, more and more case studies, authored by physiological experts, began to surface showing that it was better for children to spend as much time with both parents as possible, especially at early ages. This new emerging school of thought stood in stark contrast to the tender years doctrine and was quickly embraced by lawmakers and divorce judges. Here in Florida, the statutory language that addressed child custody litigation began to take on a far more gender-neutral and therapeutic appearance with changes such as doing away with the term “custody” and replacing it with “time-sharing”. Other big changes came when judges began interrupting the statute in a more gender-neutral way. An example of this is the statute’s language which gives a custody preference to parents who work to encourage the relationship between the child and the other parent and disfavoring any parent who is not likely to respect the other parent’s awarded time-sharing.
As these changes in thinking took root, parents and divorce lawyers began to see more awards of equal time-sharing to parents in family court cases and today in many cases it almost feels like all a father needs to do is to show up to court on time in order to receive an award of equal custody with their children.
Of course, judges will still pay close attention to safety concerns such as domestic violence or substance abuse, however, it seems like these days the courts pay more attention to logistical concerns, such as the distance between the parents’ homes and work schedules, than they do the safety allegations that often fly back and forth in divorce and child custody cases.
If I Get An Equal 50/50 Custody Schedule Will There Be Child Support?
These days it is very common to see both Mothers and Fathers and their attorneys in divorce or other family law cases end up with equal parenting schedules parenting also referred to as a 50/50 schedule. This means that the children in the case will spend an equal amount of their time with each parent either by agreement or by judicial order. Many people have the mistaken belief that having this type of visitation schedule will result in no child support payment being ordered. This simply is not true unless both parents earn the exact same income and equally divide other child-related expenses such as daycare and the child’s health insurance.
Child support in Florida is based on the net income of each parent, the amount of child support that has already been paid, the number of children involved, and the income of the custodial parent. If one parent earns more than the other and there is equal or 50/50 visitation then there is a very good chance that there will be a child support order for the parent who earns the most to pay some amount to the other parent. In reality when litigants are going through a divorce or other family law issue where child support is an issue it is critically important to make sure that a qualified attorney has sat down with you and run child support guidelines calculations. This is important to ensure that you know ahead of time what child support amount will be attributed to a certain type of time-sharing schedule.
What Does a Child Custody Lawyer in Orlando, FL Need to Know to Win My Case?
When looking to hire a child custody lawyer near you, make sure they know the following and shape their argument in court around these factors:
- Each parent’s ability to maintain the parent/child relationship between the child and the other parent.
- A parent’s ability to follow the parenting schedule and to agree to any needed changes.
- How parenting responsibilities will be divided between the parents.
- Each parent’s ability to place the child’s needs before their own.
- How long the child has lived with one parent and if it is stable.
- The ability for the parents to maintain a parenting plan even when travel is involved for visitations.
- Each parent’s moral fitness.
- The mental and physical health of the parents.
- How well the child does at home, school, and in the community.
- After considering the intelligence and maturity of the child the court may take into account the child’s preference.
- The level of personal involvement of each parent in the child’s life such as friends, school, doctors, and activities.
- The ability of each parent to provide a good routine for the child when it comes to discipline, homework, meals, and bedtime.
- The ability for each parent to communicate with the other parent on matters involving the child.
- Evidence of domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect.
- A parent’s ability to be involved in the child’s school and extracurricular activities.
- A parent’s ability to provide a home for the child, free of substance abuse.
- A parent’s ability to shield the child from ongoing court action by not discussing the litigation with the child or otherwise exposing the child to such information.
- Any other factor that relates to the best interests of the child.
Child custody cases in Orlando have changed over the years; these days, joint custody awards are common.
Historically, child custody courts would almost always give mothers a vast majority of the parenting time with the child. Today, however, more Florida courts are giving mothers and fathers an equal footing when it comes to parenting time with their children.
It seems that courts are split on this issue with big city courts giving more parents rotating 50-50 time-sharing and smaller rural courts taking a more traditional approach giving mothers the majority of parenting time with children more of the time. This is why, men should seek a Men’s Divorce attorney near them in order to ensure they get the same child custody privileges as their spouse. Our experienced child custody law firm in Orlando, Florida can guide you through the confusion and help you to make sense of the family law courts.
Today, the courts use terms such as time-sharing, parenting plan, and shared parental responsibility to address custody and visitation cases. An experienced child visitation lawyer knows the ins and outs of litigating in Orlando, Florida, and can work on a parenting agreement that will mean the most time for you, the best possible child support figures, and a lower chance of ending up back in court for a modification later.
We also help with emergency custody orders in Florida.
These are many of the reasons why parents need the assistance of an experienced Orlando child visitation attorney. It does not matter if the case begins as a divorce, paternity, or another type of case.
Our firm understands the differences between the judicial circuits and can take an approach to get you the best possible outcome for your family. In addition to issues involving child time-sharing, our firm can provide you with experienced representation in the event that you may need an attorney.
Frequently Asked Questions of Our Child Custody Attorney:
Q. Can I get equal time with my child?
A. The short answer is yes, however, this will depend greatly on several factors including your work schedule, the distance between the two parents’ homes, historical involvement with the child’s care, and ability to show you can safely care for the child, among others.
Q. The other parent is accusing me of being on drugs and being violent, but, those are not true. Does this mean I will not get time with my child?
A. The custody courts in Central Florida are well accustomed to hearing all types of allegations of bad conduct in custody cases. The courts also understand that these types of allegations are sometimes made up in order to gain an advantage in the case by the other parent.
For this reason, a judge will usually want to see proof of these allegations before they limit a parent’s contact with their kids over allegations.
Contact A Child Custody Lawyer in Orlando Today
Orlando’s affordable child custody lawyer, Sean Smallwood, is dedicated to safeguarding your rights in matters involving divorce, paternity, family law, and various child custody cases. Whether you require guidance in child custody disputes or need representation in related legal proceedings, attorney Sean Smallwood is here to support you every step of the way.
There are many opportunities for an experienced child support lawyer to help you and your family get the best possible outcome. Items that will be involved in a child support case include:
- Financial Affidavit: This is a document that lists your income, debts, and assets.
- Child support calculation worksheet: This sheet is used to calculate how much child support you will pay or receive.
- Compliance by both sides with mandatory financial disclosure: Both parents must provide financial information to the court.
“When our clients find out we have a refundable retainer it gives them one less thing to worry about during their case.” – Sean Smallwood, Esq.
If you are going through a child custody or visitation issue then call our office in Orlando, FL today to schedule a strategy session for your case: 407-574-6155.
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