Tallahassee Child Custody Attorneys
Representing You and Your Children’s Best Interests
The bond between a parent and child is one of the strongest relationships in life. Unfortunately, marital conflict can interfere with a parent-child relationship. That is why disputes between divorced or unmarried separated parents often revolve around the care and custody of children, which are some of the most emotional and stressful family law matters.
Are you facing a custody battle? Consult a child custody lawyer in Tallahassee, FL for legal advice today! At The Virga Law Firm, P.A., our team of attorneys has decades of combined legal experience with family law matters in Tallahassee. We are committed to helping families navigate the complexities of child custody law to reach a just resolution that preserves the important relationship between a parent and their child.
Child Custody Laws in Tallahassee, FL
Generally, the terms “child custody” and “visitation” referred to a person’s rights and responsibilities concerning the care and custody of a child. However, recent changes to Florida statutory law instituted the terms “parental responsibility,” “time-sharing,” and "parenting time" to describe what was formerly described as child custody and visitation.
Types of Child Custody in Tallahassee
Under Florida law, issues of parental responsibility are divided into the following categories:
- Shared Parental Responsibility – “A court-ordered relationship in which both parents retain full parental rights and responsibilities with respect to their child and in which both parents confer with each other so that major decisions affecting the welfare of the child will be determined jointly.”
- Sole Parental Responsibility – “A court-ordered relationship in which one parent makes decisions regarding a minor child.”
Moreover, a court can determine the rights of a parent to retain ultimate decision-making authority on behalf of a child for matters such as education, property rights, and medical care. In cases of shared parental responsibility, both parents have the authority to make legal decisions for their child. However, Florida courts can designate one parent to exclusively exercise ultimate decision-making authority.
Tallahassee Parenting Plans & Time-Sharing Lawyers
Florida law also provides for “parenting plans,” which refer to an official document that covers details of their time-sharing arrangement and outlines parental decision-making matters, such as the child’s education, health, and physical, social, or emotional welfare.
Parenting plans must include provisions regarding the following issues, among others:
- The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act
- The International Child Abduction Remedies Act
- The Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act
- The Hague Child Abduction Convention
How Is Custody Determined in Tallahassee?
In Florida, the court decides which parent or parents get custody based on what they consider to be "in the best interests of the child" as stated in Florida Statutes §61.13:
"The court shall determine all matters relating to parenting and time-sharing of each minor child of the parties in accordance with the best interests of the child and in accordance with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, except that modification of a parenting plan and time-sharing schedule requires a showing of a substantial, material, and unanticipated change of circumstances."
So what is in the best interests of the child? Some of the factors the court considers when determining custody in Tallahassee include, but are not limited to:
- The needs of the child and each parent's ability to provide for those needs
- Any history of domestic violence and/or substance abuse
- Each parent's ability and desire to put the child's needs above their own
- Each parent's ability and desire to have a continuing and close relationship with the child and be involved in their extracurricular activities
- Each parent's ability to provide a stable environment and maintain a routine for the child
- Each parent's ability to stay informed of the child's day-to-day life
- Each parent's "moral fitness," mental health, and physical health
- The location of each parent and how travel may affect the parenting plan
- The child's record of activities, whether at home, school, or in the community
- Each parent's ability to keep the other parent informed and work together with the other parent on matters involving the child
- The child's preference, if the court deems the child sufficiently able to express their preference
Consult a Tallahassee Child Custody Lawyer Today
When it comes to preserving your legal rights as a parent in child custody proceedings, the importance of experience, skill, and dedication cannot be understated. At The Virga Law Firm, P.A., our child custody attorneys in Tallahassee, FL have more than 80 years of combined practical knowledge regarding matters implicating Florida family law. You can benefit from the dedication our attorneys put forth in promoting and protecting you and your children’s best interests.