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Joint Child Custody Lawyers in Panama City Beach

Seeking Shared Custody? Our Florida Family Lawyers Can Help!

Although in the past mothers often received primary custody without anyone giving a second thought, things are finally changing to reflect the needs of modern families. Most experts agree that having two parents can be incredibly beneficial for a child’s wellbeing and growth – and so do most Florida family court judges, leading to an increase in joint custody decisions or “shared parental responsibility” over the last few decades.

When you’re seeking joint child custody arrangements for your family, our experienced Panama City Beach family law attorneys can offer the compassionate legal support you need, and help you find the perfect parenting time balance. Equally skilled in mediation and negotiation, our child custody team will take the time to really get to know your family, and help you explore all the options.

If you have concerns about your joint custody arrangements, contact The Virga Law Firm, P.A. at (800) 822-5170. We’re available 24/7 to take your call!

Understanding Shared Parental Responsibility in Florida

While “child custody” is the term most commonly used to describe parenting privileges, Florida courts actually call custody arrangements by a completely different name: Parental responsibility. Since 2008, Florida Statute 61.046 has defined shared parental responsibility as “a court-ordered relationship in which both parents retain full parental rights and responsibilities.”

By using terms like “equal time-sharing” and “majority time-sharing,” the Florida legislature wanted to move away from the concept of custody, and towards a more balanced understanding of the family dynamic. While shared parental responsibility is the preferred arrangement, the court may consider sole parental responsibility in special cases, particularly those involving abuse or domestic violence. This decision is not taken lightly, however, as it infringes on basic parental rights.

How Does a Judge Decide Parental Responsibility?

It’s true that most child custody cases in Florida ultimately result in shared parental responsibility, but this can take many different forms, depending on your unique work schedule, finances, and family needs. Typically, you will need to find a compromise on the time-sharing schedule, and determine how long each parent will spend with a child in a given year.

Here are some of the main factors in time-sharing decisions:

  • Current living arrangements. Judges usually try to minimize the impact of a divorce on young children, and recognize that older children can be deeply affected, too. When you propose new living arrangements or visitation schedules, the judge will consider your current situation. Anything that represents too great of an adjustment for the child may be thrown out.
  • Each parent’s financial situation. When deciding where the child will spend the majority of his or her time, the judge will look at your financial assets and ability to provide quality care for the child on a consistent basis – including any child support needs.
  • The child’s educational needs and school location. Because education is one of the biggest predictors of success, courts take a keen interest in where the child will be educated. If moving to a different area or living with both parents part-time will disrupt their educational needs, the judge will try to find an alternative solution.
  • Each parent’s relationship with the child. Of course, a child needs more than just financial support: They need a warm and mutually loving relationship with the parent, too. If there’s any indication of abuse or difficulties in a given parental relationship, the judge will either minimize that parent’s time with the child, or cut them off altogether in severe cases.

Supportive and Reliable Counsel for Joint Custody

At The Virga Law Firm, P.A., we understand how difficult it can be to find an effective solution for childcare post-divorce. That’s why we’re dedicated to our clients, and steadfast in pursuing the best possible arrangements for Panama City Beach families. With 80 years of combined experience in the courtroom and at the negotiation table, we’ll work hard to ensure that both you and your child’s best interests are taken into consideration.

Call our office at (800) 822-5170 for a consultation with our trial-tested child custody attorneys!