“Winter Park” is a cool name for a cool city, especially when that city is located in the sunshine state. Winter Park, near Orlando, is a remarkable combination of natural beauty and cultural attractions. With more than 70 gorgeous parks to its credit, it hosts a wide variety of festivals and celebrations throughout the year, drawing visitors who have come to the world-famous attraction of Disney World and discovered adjacent delights and entertainment options. Winter Park is also a cultural center, home to several museums. For those who want a respite from the crowds and squeals of Orlando, Winter Park can be a perfect getaway.
No matter how pleasant a location Winter Park is, however, for those contemplating divorce it is only another city of broken homes. If you are planning to divorce and seeking an esteemed divorce attorney in the vicinity of Winter Park, you will find a better law firm than Orlando Family Team. Ophelia Bernal-Mora, Esq., B.C.S. and Andrew Nickolaou, Esq. are family law attorneys in every sense of the word since, in addition to having a track record of success in all aspects of divorce agreements, they are a married couple themselves. They, therefore, have deep insight and empathy when it comes to child custody and are committed to smoothing your way through the unsettling process of divorce and into a new, more peacefully structured family life.
Child Custody: Who should the children live with?
Divorce becomes much more complicated when you are severing a marriage in a family with children. You and your soon-to-be ex must decide which arrangement will work best for your children: joint or sole custody. For most couples, this is the most gut-wrenching decision of the divorce since it involves — if the children are young — who will be reading bedtime stories and giving baths and — if the children are older — who will be chaperoning sleepovers and helping to take kids to sports’ practices and school dances.
How Child Custody Is Decided in Winter Park
All things being equal, Florida courts prefer to see parents have joint custody of their children, but this is not always possible due to where the parents live relative to one another and what their work hours are. If the parents live in close proximity to one another, it is possible that the children may spend half a week or every other week with each parent. If the parents live farther apart, some children may spend 6 months with each parent, though this arrangement is usually difficult both logistically and emotionally. In the end, custody arrangements should be made in the best interests of the kids and the youngsters’ preferences should be taken into account wherever possible.
Law Concerning Child Custody in Winter Park
While many states that divide child custody into legal and physical custody, Florida replaced these terms several years ago with parental responsibilities and time-sharing. In the vast majority of cases, the courts encourage children to have healthy relationships with both parents, even if one is incarcerated, so unless one parent has engaged in egregious behavior considered to endanger the child, each parent will retain both parental rights and parental responsibilities after the marriage is dissolved.
Parental Responsibility and Decision Making
Formerly referred to as “legal custody,” parental responsibility and decision-making involves the right of each parent to have input relative to decisions about his/her child’s medical care, education, extracurricular activities (e.g. sports, music, art), and religious activities.
In Florida, instead of referring to “physical custody” of a child, (which, after all, sounds a little like prison), we now use the term “time-sharing” to indicate that either parent has rights when it comes to scheduled parenting time and weekends and holidays.
It is the right of every parent to know the following information about his or her child:
- Where the child is for any extended period of time (e.g. at a relative’s, on a field trip, on a vacation with a friend’s family)
- How the child is doing medically, whether the child is ill or injured, or undergoing any kind of treatment (e.g. occupational therapy, psychological counseling)
Both parents should agree to a preferred form of communication, along with an alternate, so they can each keep one another up-to-date on their children’s conditions and whereabouts. In this technological era, they should decide whether calls or texts are more practical and should designate emergency means of contact if a device fails to function or is lost.
Our Winter Park Child Custody Attorney Is On Your Side
Other issues may also prevent joint custody from being feasible. At Orlando Family Team, we are experienced and we are highly skilled strategists when it comes to negotiation or litigation. We are dedicated to assisting you in all Winter park child custody matters whether you are trying to:
- Prove paternity
- Show you have had primary care of the children in a loving, stable environment for years
- Show that you have the steady income necessary to provide for your children
- Show that you are healthy enough and have the physical stamina to tend your children
- Prove that you are emotionally stable and/or that your ex-spouse is not
- Prove that your ex has an addiction to alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex
that will interfere with good parenting or that you do not
- Prove that your ex has engaged in domestic violence and is dangerous to your children
- Prove that your ex engages in illegal activity and therefore threatens your children’s safety
- Prove that you do not present a threat to your children or their safety
- Show that you will not prevent your ex from spending parenting time with your children
Whether you are on good terms with your ex or fighting tooth and nail, the Orlando Family Team will provide you with excellent legal representation. We will listen carefully to your story, investigate to verify any pertinent facts, and interview any witnesses or professionals who can validate your case with police data, medical information, testing or counseling records. You can trust us to support you, whichever side you’re on.
When Parents Cannot Agree on a Parenting Plan
As long as Orlando Family Team has assisted you and your former spouse to agree to a legally acceptable parenting plan, it will undoubtedly be approved by the court. However, In cases in which even mediation does not help you and your ex spouse to agree, the court will make the decision. Don’t forget, though, that as your child custody attorneys we will fight vigorously to convince the judge to rule in your favor. We know that the well-being of your children is your central focus and we will do all we can to protect them and to serve your interests. Contact us soon.