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Supporting Your Child Through a Custody Dispute

Divorce is typically a wrenching process, especially for the children involved. If the divorcing parents can’t agree on a child custody arrangement, the process is all the more grueling.                                         

At Orlando Family Team, we have more than two decades of experience helping clients throughout Central Florida guide their children through this process with as little pain and disruption as possible. 

If both parents remain focused on what’s best for their child, custody disputes can be calmed, and the situation can be resolved peacefully. In this blog, we will provide some suggestions we have found to be helpful for families dealing with the turmoil associated with custody disputes.

Considerations for Determining Child Custody

In order to determine whether there will be joint or sole custody and which parent will have sole custody if that path is chosen, the court’s primary concern is always the best interests of the child. Therefore, the judge will be assessing each parent’s relationship with the child, living situation, and general demeanor. The child’s age and needs will also be considered, as will their own preferences if they are of an appropriate age to voice an opinion. 

Protecting Your Child’s Best Interests

It stands to reason that the judge is more likely to be inclined to award custody to a parent who presents as stable, loving, and communicative and seems best able to provide a comfortable, unpressured environment in which the child can thrive. In most cases, it is counterproductive to be angry and argumentative in court since this behavior can come across as destabilizing for the child. Our attorneys will give you pointers on keeping control even if the discussion becomes inflammatory.

Protecting Your Child’s Mental Health

It goes without saying that custody disputes are distressing for children. A child whose parents are divorcing typically feels torn by the parental split. It’s vital to monitor your child’s mental health and seek professional support if needed. Most children will benefit from at least several sessions with a counselor to discuss their feelings openly and ask questions they may not feel comfortable asking either parent.

It is important to look for signs of emotional unrest in your child that may require evaluation and treatment, such as changes in appetite, sleep disturbances, nervous habits, or regressions like bed-wetting or thumb-sucking. Though common, such behaviors should always be addressed by a consultation with a therapist. Early intervention can prevent worsening symptoms by getting to the root of the problem.

Dos and Don’ts During a Custody Dispute

Remembering your goal during a custody dispute will help you follow these directives:


  • Keep your child’s routines as normal as possible.
  • Encourage and facilitate ongoing contact with the other parent.
  • Keep note of your positive interactions with your child.
  • Remind your child that the divorce is not their fault and that your love is unconditional.


  • Use your child as a messenger between you and the other parent.
  • Speak negatively about the other parent in front of your child.
  • Disobey court orders or agreements.
  • Interfere with your child’s visits or conversations with the other parent.

How Mediation May Be Helpful

Mediation is a less adversarial, more private way to resolve custody disputes. It involves having a trained, impartial mediator guide both parents toward an agreement without taking sides. Though not always feasible, this process can be less stressful for all involved and often leads to more amicable resolutions. Such resolutions can be highly beneficial for the future co-parenting relationship.

Contact Our Experienced Child Dispute Attorneys Today

At Orlando Family Team, our attorneys are dedicated to guiding you through the complexities of a child custody dispute. You can count on us to provide the strong legal representation you need and the compassionate support you deserve. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can help sort things out for your newly structured family.

About the Author
Andrew Nickolaou, Esq., B.C.S., is a founding partner at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou, P.A. He practices almost exclusively in divorce, marital and family law. Andrew and his partner, Ophelia Bernal-Mora, Esq., B.C.S., joined forces in March 2016 to form the unique and boutique husband and wife family law team at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou, P.A. Together, Andrew and Ophelia take a practical and team-based approach to all of their cases and clients to deliver the highest quality experience and representation.
Andrew Nickolaou

Andrew Nickolaou, Esq., B.C.S., is a founding partner at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou, P.A. He practices almost exclusively in divorce, marital and family law. Andrew also handles record expungements and sealings. If you have questions about this article, contact Andrew today by clicking here.