Orange County Child Custody Lawyer

A young father playing video games with his son

Issues of child custody can be challenging when couples in Orange County, Florida divorce, separate, or are unmarried. Having an experienced, empathic Orange County child custody attorney at your side will help you get through. Turn to Orlando Family Team for reliable, compassionate assistance. 

Whether you are the child’s mother or father, and whether or not you were ever married, Florida law recognizes your right to maintain a close relationship with your child by spending a reasonable amount of time actively parenting. However, the law also recognizes your right to protect your child from inadequate care or abuse. Our child custody attorneys are committed to helping you restructure your family in a way that feels safe and comfortable for both you and your child.

Representing Orange County Parents In Child Custody Disputes

For over two decades, our firm has been providing excellent legal representation to clients who are trying to make suitable child custody arrangements. Our goal, like theirs, is to create a plan that will help them enjoy the loving and supportive relationship with their child that both deserve. We have comprehensive knowledge of child custody laws in Florida and a strong track record of fighting to protect our clients’ parental rights. 

Everyone on our family law team is sensitive to the importance of maintaining warmth between the child and each parent, especially when the couple’s relationship has dissolved or been radically altered. We will do everything in our power to make certain that you have access to your child. On the other hand, if your ex has been abusive, we will take necessary measures to protect your child from harm.

Arriving at Child Custody Arrangements in Orange County

Although many states make a distinction between legal and physical child custody, in Florida, the terms now used are “parental responsibilities” and “parental time-sharing.” The state now recognizes that children’s interests (in all but the most egregious cases) are best met by having healthy, constructive relationships with both parents, each of whom retains full parental rights and responsibility after separation or divorce. 

Joint custody is common in Florida. When there is a sole custody arrangement, it typically involves the child residing primarily with one parent but spending a generous period of parenting time with the other. The court encourages couples who are splitting up to work out a parenting plan between themselves. Legal advice is usually necessary to make certain both parents are being treated fairly by the agreed-upon plan. 

When the couple has serious disagreements about child custody, our lawyers can help with out-of-court negotiations, through mediation, or, if it becomes necessary, through litigation.

What Constitutes a Workable Parenting Plan

Parenting plans must outline each parent’s basic responsibilities for the child and create a reasonable time-sharing schedule that considers the following:

  • Parental responsibility and decision-making (formerly referred to as “legal custody”) in regard to decisions about the child’s education, healthcare, religious upbringing, and extracurricular activities. Such decisions are usually made jointly but may be divvied up.
  • Time-sharing (formerly referred to as “physical custody”) determines how much time the child will spend with each parent on weekdays, weekends, holidays, and during summer vacation.
  • Information sharing concerns the requirement that each parent keeps the other parent informed about accidents, illnesses, developmental issues, school reports, special achievements, or misconduct that affect the child’s well-being and establish specific guidelines about how and when this information sharing should take place.
  • How other communications will be handled should be determined to avoid future arguments about, for example, texts between parents that one parent considers too frequent, emails one parent neglects to answer, or phone calls that one or both parents find intrusive except in emergencies.

As long as the parents have agreed to a parenting plan that comprehensively addresses all of the above, the court will approve it. 

When Parents Cannot Agree on a Workable Child Parenting Plan

If the parents are unable to come to an agreement, the court will determine child custody arrangements based on:

  • How long the child has lived in an acceptable, stable environment
  • Evident love and affection between each parent and the child
  • Each parent’s ability to provide food/clothing/shelter/medical care for the child
  • The physical and mental health of each parent
  • The moral fitness of each parent
  • Criminal record of either parent
  • Evidence of domestic violence or child abuse
  • Alcohol or drug abuse by either parent
  • Wishes of the child (if old enough to express a preference)

Contact Our Experienced Orange County Child Custody Attorneys Today

At Orlando Family Team, we know how difficult it can be to negotiate a child custody agreement when you are separating or divorcing. Getting in touch with our accomplished child custody attorneys can make the process much easier and shield you and your child from contentious negotiations. If your case requires litigation, however, we will leverage our sharp skills and in-depth knowledge of child custody matters in our resolute fight to win your case. Contact us now so we can get started by providing you with superior legal advocacy.