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Lakeland Child Custody Lawyer Representing Polk County 

Client-Focused Advocacy Inside & Outside of Court

Parent with custody of child

Child custody is often one of the most contentious parts of a divorce settlement. There are two aspects of child custody in Polk County, FL: legal and physical. Legal custody dictates who will is responsible for making decisions about the children's education, medical issues and discipline. Physical custody means that the parent is granted the rights to have the child reside with him or her. In some circumstances, joint physical/legal custody can also be granted, meaning both parents take part in physical custody and/or decision-making.

Because I know how important your children are to you, deciding on child custody usually gets very heated for both parties. At Advocate Law Firm, P.A., my legal team and I will make sure we listen to your situation and understand your unique needs and desires. I know how much your family's future means to you, and I will do everything I can to uphold your rights. No matter what, my Polk County divorce firm is committed to your best interests!

Understanding Parenting Plans in Florida

Creating a parenting plan is an essential part of the child custody process in Florida. A parenting plan outlines the responsibilities and time-sharing arrangements for each parent, as well as how decisions regarding the child's upbringing will be made. Our experienced child custody lawyers at Advocate Law Firm, P.A. can help you navigate the complexities of creating a comprehensive parenting plan that serves the best interests of your child.

Key components of a parenting plan may include:

  • Time-sharing schedule
  • Designation of parental responsibility
  • Methods for resolving disputes
  • Communication guidelines
  • Education and healthcare decisions

By working with our dedicated legal team, you can ensure that your parenting plan is thorough, fair, and legally sound. Contact us today to get the guidance and support you need to create a parenting plan that works for your family.

How Do I Create a Parenting Plan?

During the divorce, you will have to create a parenting plan with your spouse for your minor children. A parenting plan will cover duties and functions, such as:

  • Where will your kids live and when?
  • What will the visitation schedule be?
  • How will you and your spouse make decisions about your children?

How Is Custody Determined in Polk County, Florida?

Factors that the Polk County court will consider before awarding custody include the economic situation and stability of both parents, as well as each parent's caretaking abilities, availability, and place of residence. The Polk County court will also take into consideration whether one parent will be more effective at sharing parenting time.

The FL court also decides child custody arrangements by looking at:

  • Each parent's ability to place the children's needs before their own.
  • Each parent's moral fitness.
  • Each parent's mental and physical health.
  • The ability of each parent to provide a good routine for the child.
  • The child's preference (depending on his/her maturity).
  • Whether there is any history of domestic violence, sexual violence or child abuse by either party.

At What Age Can a Child Choose to Live With a Parent in Florida?

There is no set age in Florida for a child to choose which parent to live with. The Florida court will consider the child's wishes, but they are not the only factor in custody decisions. The court will also consider the child's best interests, including factors such as the child's relationship with each parent, the stability of each parent's home, and the child's educational and extracurricular needs. 

The older the child is, the more weight the court will give their wishes. However, the court will always consider the child's best interests, even if their wishes are not in their best interests. 

If you are going through a divorce or separation in Florida, speaking with an attorney who can help you understand the custody process and protect your rights is crucial. 

The Florida Statutes state that the court shall contemplate the child's wishes "if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to express a preference." The court will also consider the child's "emotional ties with each parent," the "child's adjustment to his or her home, school, and community," and the "mental and physical health of all parties involved."

I Represent Couples of All Orientations. Call (863) 644-5566 Today!

My legal team and I are proud to represent both heterosexual and same-sex couples across Florida. If you would like to receive seasoned legal counsel regarding your unique child custody issues, I encourage you to contact Advocate Law Firm, P.A. and schedule a free consultation directly with me today. Our lawyers offer legal services in English and Spanish.

Benefit from my 20+ years of family law experience by calling (863) 644-5566 now!  Let’s begin with a free case evaluation.

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