Fort Lauderdale Child Custody Attorney
When parents divorce or separate, custody determinations are an important, sensitive, and often contentious issue. The Fort Lauderdale child custody attorneys at the office of Joyce A. Julian, P.A., are dedicated to you and your family and will work tirelessly to defend your and your children’s interests to achieve the best outcome possible for your family. Joyce Julian has 30 years’ experience, including six years as a Broward County Circuit Judge, in working with family law cases. She helps parents reach agreements establishing custody and parenting time and works to create modifications and relocation plans where necessary.
Types of Custody
In Florida, there are two types of child custody: physical and legal custody. Physical custody refers to which parent the child resides with. Legal custody addresses the issue of who gets to make decisions for the child in areas including education, healthcare, discipline, and religion.
Custody can be either joint, allocating rights and responsibilities to both parents equally or in varying proportions, or sole. Florida policy strongly prefers joint custody and time-sharing to allow a child to benefit from a relationship with both parents. Courts will award one parent sole custody, however, if that is in the best interests of the child, such as in cases of abuse or neglect.
Parents in Florida who are separated or divorced must come up with parenting plans that outline the division of parental responsibilities. An attorney can help parents work together to create a plan that is acceptable to both parents and that will be best for their child. If the parents cannot reach an agreement on a plan, the court will make that decision for them.
Parenting plans must include:
- A time-sharing schedule, specifying which parent will provide the primary residence and where the child will spend weekends, holidays, and vacations;
- Who has primary legal custody and an allocation of daily parenting responsibilities;
- School registration information; and
- Specific methods that the parents will use to communicate with the child.
If the parents come up with a parenting plan, the court must approve it to ensure that it is in the child’s best interests.
Child’s Best Interests
Parenting plans and custody decisions must be made according to the best interests of the child. The court determines a child’s best interests based on several factors, including:
- The child’s health and safety;
- Each parent’s ability to meet the emotional and developmental needs of the child;
- Each parent’s health and moral fitness;
- The parents’ ability and willingness to communicate with each other; and
- Any evidence of domestic violence or substance abuse.
If the child is old enough, the court will also consider the child’s preferences in living situations and other matters.
Work with Joyce A. Julian, P.A., in Your Fort Lauderdale Custody Matter
Child custody issues are a sensitive area and involve the most personal and important parts of a family’s life, so it is important to have the advice of a committed Fort Lauderdale child custody attorney. Please contact an experienced and dedicated Florida family law attorney at the office of Joyce A. Julian, P.A., for a free initial consultation.