We Work Out Solutions To Your Custody Disputes

Custody and shared parenting decisions are among the most emotional issues to be resolved in a divorce or at the end of a nonmarital relationship. Often, they can be the most bitterly argued issues as well. Florida courts act in the best interest of the child, and generally seek a continued active role by both parents.

Parents are encouraged to get out of the mindset of "winning" a custody battle. At Barry P. Burnette, PA, in Tavares, we are committed to helping our clients reach a favorable agreement on custody, parenting plans and child support. If two parties can reach agreement through negotiation or mediation, they retain more control over the outcome. More importantly, such an agreement avoids dragging a child through the emotionally draining litigation process.

However, we understand that not all custody disputes can be resolved amicably. If you and your child's other parent cannot reach agreement regarding a shared parenting plan, we are always prepared to advocate assertively on your behalf.

Parents who are resolving custody issues in Florida must complete a Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course, a four-hour session that is designed to assist parents in regard to the consequences of divorce on parents and children.

How Florida Courts Resolve Custody Disputes

In most cases, both parents share legal custody, which is the authority to make educational, medical, religious and disciplinary decisions. Decisions must also be made regarding physical custody, or where a child will spend his or her days and nights.

If parents cannot reach agreement on a parenting plan, the court considers a number of factors to determine physical custody and a time-sharing schedule. These factors include:

  • A demonstrated ability to facilitate a close parent-child relationship and foster a continued relationship with the child's other parent
  • A demonstrated ability to place the child's needs above the desires of the parent
  • The length of time the child has lived in a stable environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity
  • The moral fitness of the parents
  • The mental and physical health of the parents
  • A demonstrated ability and willingness by each parent to provide a consistent routine for the child in terms of schedule, meals, discipline and sleep
  • A demonstrated ability and willingness by each parent to keep the other parent informed of issues and activities regarding the child
  • The preference of the child if the court finds the child has sufficient intelligence, understanding and experience to state a preference

Existing Orders Can Be Modified

Because parents' and children's lives are constantly changing, an existing custody order may no longer make sense. We help individuals modify existing custody orders. Here again, the court will act in the child's best interest.

Our thorough understanding of Florida custody statutes helps us produce positive results for our clients. Call 352-508-6735 or email us to schedule an appointment.