Professional and Proactive Advocate for Your Parental Rights
Child custody is an important facet of family law that determines the parent-child relationship. Attorney Nicole Benjamin has nearly 20 years of experience practicing in the family legal system, and she will provide you the personalized legal service you need to navigate your custody negotiation. She connects well with the parents she works with and will fight for your best interests in your custody negotiation.
Parenting Time and Parental Responsibility
Florida custody law addresses parenting time (the visitation and custody schedule) and parental responsibility (each parent's right to make major medical, educational, religious, or legal decisions on the child's behalf). Parenting time and parental responsibility may be shared jointly or ordered solely for one parent.
Note that even if parents share parenting time and parental responsibilities, one parent will be designated the "primary parent" or "custodial parent" and the other parent the "secondary parent" or "noncustodial parent." The custodial parent is usually the parent who has more parenting time with the child and has the final say on matters when the couple cannot agree.
As part of the custody process, the parents must each submit a proposed parenting plan that details the time sharing and parental responsibilities. If both parents reach a settlement agreement on custody, they can submit a single parenting plan for approval.
Approved plans include, at a minimum, details regarding:
- the plan for sharing responsibility of daily parenting tasks;
- the custody time-sharing schedule;
- the designated address for school registration and other activities;
- the plan for how parents will communicate with one another regarding the child; and
- the designated parent who will be responsible for health care and school matters.
Child’s Best Interests
Stat. § 61.13(3) establishes that to make the custody decision, a Florida judge will examine each parent’s ability and desire to act in the child's best interests, which includes factors like:
- each parent's willingness to foster a relationship between the child and the other parent;
- each parent's ability to meet the child's needs;
- each parent's physical and mental health;
- each parent's moral fitness;
- each parent's ability to provide the child with a consistent routine;
- geographic viability of the parenting plan (the amount of travel it would take to honor the time-sharing schedule);
- child's adjustment to home and community;
- child’s preference if of a sufficient age and understanding;
- evidence of domestic violence, if any;
- each parent's ability to provide a safe and stable environment for the child;
- the child's developmental age, needs, and abilities; and
- any other relevant factor.
Modifying an Existing Order
Custody orders last until the youngest child turns 18 years old. However, if there has been a material change in circumstances or several years have passed since the custody order was issued, parents may request an adjustment or modification of the order. Note that the parent filing the modification request has the burden of proving that a change in custody will be in the child’s best interests. For instance, if there is reasonable evidence of abuse at home, a judge will likely adjust the custody order.
Whether you have questions about negotiating custody or modifying an existing order, contact Benjamin Law online or at (407) 410-3850 for legal support in the process.
“Attorney Benjamin is great at what she does, I’ve used her services multiple times and always get the result I’m looking for. Very professional and very sharp at her craft. I highly recommend her services...”- David B.
“Attorney Benjamin made me feel at ease during a time I felt uncertain by communicating and keeping me informed every step of the way. Attorney Benjamin was also very thorough and very professional.”- Will
“Very professional and gets the job with integrity! If you need an attorney who will help you, I HIGHLY recommend Attorney Nicole Benjamin. I am forever grateful to her and her staff.”- Phala