The question of who has custody over your child is an important one that can have a direct impact on your child, you, and your former partner for many years to come.
Whether you are going through a divorce, legal separation, or grappling with custody issues stemming from a birth out of wedlock, it is important you have accurate legal information and dedicated legal advocacy on your side.
With nearly a decade of experience in family law matters, Pinellas County attorney Tara J. Scott can discuss your legal options with you and what you can do to maximize the likelihood of a positive outcome in your child custody case.
Types of Child Custody
Florida no longer uses the term “custody” to refer to who is primarily responsible for a child. Instead, two important legal terms and concepts are used:
- Parenting time – Parenting time specifies when each parent will be able to spend time with their child and what this schedule will be.
- Parenting responsibility – Parental responsibility refers to the right to make important decisions about a child, such as those relating to the child’s education, healthcare, religion, and extracurricular activities.
How Child Custody is Determined
How child custody is determined depends on whether the case is contested or agreed on.
If the parents agree on basic custody matters, they can work on creating a parenting plan together. This document discusses such matters as:
- Time-sharing schedule
- Time-sharing for holidays and school breaks
- How the parents will contact the children
- Extracurricular activities
- Child care provisions
- Travel provisions
Contested Court Case
If the parents cannot agree on child custody, one of the parents can petition the family law court for custody. The court determines how to allocate parenting time and parental responsibility based on what is in the best interests of the child. Factors that the court takes into consideration when making these important decisions include:
- The child’s current living situation
- The moral fitness of the parents
- The health of the parents
- The child’s involvement in the community
- The child’s preference if old and mature enough to express it
- The relationship between each parent and the child
- Any history of domestic violence, drug use or criminal acts of the parents
- Whether the parents promote a relationship with the other parent and child
Why Choose the Law Offices of Tara J. Scott, P.A. for Your Child Custody
Child custody attorney Tara J. Scott is compassionate to all of her clients, knowing how difficult child custody cases can be. This approach often allows her to resolve child custody cases outside of the courtroom through an agreement by the parties.
However, she is also an aggressive and commanding litigator when an agreement is not possible. She understands the stakes involved in child custody matters and fights vigilantly to protect the rights of Florida families.
Give our firm the chance to represent you in your child custody matter. We begin the process with an initial consultation in which we can empower you with information regarding Florida’s child custody laws. We can explain your legal options and the legal process moving forward so you can make well-informed and confident decisions.