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Child Custody Attorneys in Brevard County, Florida

When dissolving marriages that involve children, the parents must establish child custody arrangements to determine the rights and responsibilities of each party. In the event that they're unable to reach a mutual custody agreement, the family court may be called upon to help determine child custody and parenting time.

If you're considering divorce and want to know how child custody arrangements will be decided, it is extremely beneficial to speak with a Florida family law attorney for trusted legal assistance. 

At Gutin & Wolverton: Harley I. Gutin, we enjoy providing legal help to clients in family law matters, including divorce and child custody. Our reliable team is available to discuss the conditions and analyze your possible custody options. Whether you need to establish a child custody agreement or modify an existing custody decree, our trusted attorneys can guide you through the process and help you navigate crucial decisions. 

Gutin & Wolverton: Harley I. Gutin proudly serves clients throughout Cocoa, Florida, and across the surrounding areas of Brevard County, including Melbourne, Titusville, and Palm Bay, Florida.

Establishing a Child Custody Arrangement  

Before a divorce or legal separation can be finalized, the child's parents must create a reasonable child custody agreement to determine the rights, duties, and responsibilities of each parent. In the state of Florida, child custody arrangements may be established in the following ways: 

Uncontested Custody Arrangement 

In an uncontested custody arrangement, both parents are able to reach mutually acceptable terms and conditions regarding custody. All agreed-upon terms will be properly documented and signed by both parents. This will be presented – as part of the marital settlement agreement – to the court for official approval. 

In general, an uncontested custody arrangement provides an affordable and faster way to establish child custody. Also, both parents will be more involved in determining workable custody and visitation (time-sharing) terms.

A trusted Florida child custody attorney can advocate for your best interests and keep the conversation focused. 

Contested Custody Arrangement 

In contested custody, the parents are at an impasse and cannot reach agreeable child custody and time-sharing terms. As a result, they must turn to the Florida court to help decide custody and settle other parenting issues based on the best interest and welfare of the child.

If you're involved in a contested child custody battle, you need to retain a dedicated divorce lawyer to help present your case intelligently and help you achieve the best possible custody order. 

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Parental Responsibility and Time-Sharing 

Time-sharing (visitation or parenting time) involves the amount of time the child will spend with each parent. In Florida, there are two types of time-sharing. 

  • Equal Time-Sharing: In equal time-sharing, each parent will have almost 50% of the time with the children. 

  • Majority/Minority Time-Sharing: Conversely, in majority or minority time-sharing, one parent will have more time with the child than the other.

The Florida courts typically favor a situation where the child will have a relationship with both parents. In an ideal divorce situation, the parents are likely to receive shared or almost equal parenting time. In rare cases where the other parent is unfit to care for the child, the court may issue sole parenting time. 

Factors Considered in Determining Custody 

As mentioned earlier, in a contested divorce, the court will determine custody based on the child's best interests. Here are some factors that are often considered by the court when deciding custody: 

  • The child's preference, if he or she is of sufficient age and understanding. 

  • The child's developmental age, needs, and abilities. 

  • Each parent's ability to meet the child's needs. 

  • The physical, mental health, and moral fitness of each parent. 

  • Each parent's willingness to establish a relationship between the child and the other parent. 

  • How adjusting to a new home and community might affect the child. 

  • Any evidence or history of domestic violence, child abuse, or neglect. 

  • Each parent's ability to give the child a safe and stable environment. 

  • Any other factor deemed necessary to determine what is best for the child. 

A knowledgeable attorney can assess every aspect of your unique circumstances and work intelligently to address and resolve custody issues amicably. 

Modifying an Existing Child Custody Arrangement 

However, child custody orders are not set in stone. To modify an existing child custody arrangement, the requesting parent must show that: 

  • There has been "substantial, material, and unanticipated change of circumstances" since the existing order was made, and 

  • The modification you're seeking would be in the child's best interests.

Here are some major life events that allow you to request a change to your existing child custody agreement: 

  • Involuntary job loss. 

  • Medical condition. 

  • Substance abuse. 

  • Changes in the parent's marital status.   

  • Changes in either parent's work schedule. 

  • The other parent voluntarily ignores the custody agreement. 

  • Relocation. 

  • Child abuse or neglect by either parent. 

  • The death of the custodial parent.

A seasoned lawyer can help file your modification petition and represent you during every phase of the legal process. 

Work With Practiced Family Law Attorneys 

Establishing child custody agreements in a divorce often involves numerous complexities. The divorcing parents must create a feasible parenting plan, outline parental responsibilities, and allocate time-sharing.

Therefore, consulting with a practiced family law attorney is paramount for proper guidance when creating child custody arrangements. 

At Gutin & Wolverton: Harley I. Gutin, we're poised and ready to advise and guide clients through the complex procedures involved in determining custody, including parental responsibility and time-sharing.

As your legal counsel, we will work intelligently with both parents to reach a workable child custody arrangement and help protect your family's future. 

Child Custody Attorneys Serving Brevard County, Florida   

If you need detailed guidance to establish or modify a child custody agreement, contact us at Gutin & Wolverton: Harley I. Gutin today to schedule a simple consultation. Our skilled legal team can offer you the reliable advocacy and personalized legal counsel you need to make intelligent decisions in your divorce and custody matters.

We're proud to serve clients across Cocoa and throughout Brevard County, including Melbourne, Titusville, and Palm Bay, Florida.