If you need to develop a child custody agreement or modify a parenting plan, we are here to help. The Orlando child custody lawyers at O’Mara Law Group are experienced legal professionals with credentials specific to family law and mediation. Along with the legal knowledge, skill, and professionalism they have developed, O’Mara’s family law attorneys represent clients with compassion and sensitivity.
In the aftermath of divorce or separation, many parents struggle to make the transition easier for their children. Florida child custody laws require separating spouses to establish a parenting plan covering decision-making responsibilities and each parent’s time with the child. During the stress and confusion that often accompanies the end of a marriage, you might understandably need legal assistance to develop a plan that best serves your child’s needs.
Our legal team is here to help. The Orlando child custody lawyers at O’Mara Law Group have the skill and experience to help you sort things out after a divorce. Contact us today to schedule your free, confidential consultation.
Do I Need a Child Custody Lawyer?
Parents face many challenges when making choices about their children’s welfare during a divorce or separation. An Orlando child custody lawyer will:
- Help you understand child custody options, including where the children live, visitation rights, and making decisions about health care, education, and other important matters
- Negotiate and advocate for your interests in parenting plans
- Represent your interests at trial if necessary
An Orlando child custody attorney knows Florida’s legal process and can protect your rights. An experienced lawyer will navigate complex child custody issues, including relocation, parental alienation, remarriage, changes to parenting agreements, and enforcement of custody orders.
How O’Mara Law Group Can Help with Your Child Custody Case
The attorneys at O’Mara Law Group bring a high level of qualification to represent your interests in your child custody case.
A respected trial lawyer, attorney Mark M. O’Mara is also a certified Supreme Court Family Mediator. With additional certification in collaborative, family, and marital law, Mr. O’Mara will help you resolve your child custody case in or out of a courtroom.
Attorney Cathleen Winter has supported people in family law cases well before obtaining her legal education. She spent several years as a family law paralegal before going to law school, where she was a Certified Legal Intern with the Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Clinic. In 2021, she was recognized as a top family law attorney.
Lawyer Mark Rabinowitz has been board-certified in marital and family law in Florida since 1999. Mr. Rabinowitz has represented high-net-worth individuals and focuses on legally complex family law cases.
O’Mara Law Group knows that good people face tough situations, and we are committed to helping you through separation or divorce challenges.
What is a Parenting Plan?
A parenting plan details how parents will raise and make decisions about their children. According to Florida law, at a minimum, a parenting plan must:
- Describe how parents will share the daily tasks of the child’s upbringing
- Include a time-sharing agreement
- Describe how parents will communicate with the child, including methods and technologies
- Designate parental responsibility for health care, school matters, and other activities
The Florida legal system prefers that parents develop a parenting plan outside of court, but an Orlando family law attorney will help you form the details. Mediation or utilizing a parenting plan coordinator are other options if parents can’t reach an agreement. In all cases, a lawyer can provide legal advice and guidance.
Understanding Time-Sharing Agreements
A time-sharing agreement specifies when children will be with each parent. A time-sharing schedule is part of a parenting plan and states when the child will be with which parent during:
- Holidays, such as Memorial Day, July 4th, religious or cultural observances
- Winter, spring, and summer break
The time-sharing agreement also specifies the number of overnights allotted to each parent. The details of a time-sharing agreement can depend on whether you seek full custody or joint custody with the other parent. An Orlando child custody lawyer can help you consider what you might expect or want out of a time-sharing agreement with your child’s other parent.
Important Factors in Child Custody Cases
In Florida child custody cases, the child’s welfare and best interests are the most important factors. The family court considers many factors when deciding to approve, enforce, or vary a parenting plan. Some things the court examines include:
- Each parent’s ability to honor the parenting plan and to encourage the child’s continued relationship with the other parent
- Each parent’s ability or intent to act in the child’s best interest
- The amount of time the child has lived in a stable environment
- The mental and physical health of each parent
- Each parent’s ability to give the child a proper routine
- Evidence of sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect, domestic violence, or whether either parent provided false information to the court about these issues
- Each parent’s role in caregiving toward the child before the divorce or separation
- The ability of each parent to meet a child’s specific needs
This is a non-exhaustive list, and a court might assess other factors, too.
Can My Children Choose Where They Will Live?
If the court finds that a child is mature enough to understand and express those preferences, it might consider them. However, children are not always aware of every factor contributing to their best interests, and the child’s preferences will be weighed against other factors when determining custody.
Child Custody FAQs
Here are some answers to the most common questions O’Mara Law Group clients ask about child custody.
Can I Relocate with my Child?
If you want to relocate more than 50 miles from the other parent, you must reach a formal written agreement with the other parent or ask the court to approve the relocation plan.
Can Custody Agreements be Modified?
Yes. You can seek a custody modification through the court. An Orlando child custody lawyer will walk you through the steps.
How Can I Get Full Custody of My Child?
You can work with an Orlando child custody attorney to seek full custody of your child. Full custody means you have sole decision-making power for your child, who only lives with you. Such an arrangement is rare in Florida but may be the right choice in some cases.
How Long Does a Custody Case Take?
A child custody case can take weeks or months. If the parents agree to a resolution outside of court, it typically takes less time.
How Much Does a Child Custody Lawyer Cost?
The cost depends on the time a lawyer spends on your case. Resolving issues out of court often takes less time and money. In some situations, you can also petition the court to have the other parent pay your legal fees.
What if My Ex Fails to Follow Custody Orders?
You have a few options. You can ask an Orlando child custody attorney to send a letter asking your ex to comply with the order. If this does not work, you might consider mediation. If this also fails, you can take your ex to court and ask a judge to enforce the order.
Trust an Orlando Child Custody Lawyer from the O’Mara Law Group
Child custody can be a complex and emotional issue for any parent. Working with an Orlando child custody attorney can help alleviate stress while ensuring your preferences and your child’s welfare are respected. Schedule a consultation today with O’Mara Law Group.
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