Lakeland Child Custody Attorney and Family Law Firm

While we are based in Lakeland, we proudly serve all of Polk County- including Auburndale, Bartow, Fort Meade, Frostproof, Haines City, Lake Wales, and Winter Haven.

Child Custody

“Custody battles” are stressful and often times heartbreaking for everyone involved. The need to establish child custody in mediation or court is typically a result of divorce, but we can argue for child custody in non-traditional cases as well. Our child custody lawyers, Art Fulmer, Jr. and Christal Holmes, will argue for what is in the best interest of the child on your behalf. We aren’t just resolving a dispute between the parties involved. We are caring throughout the process and will explain you and your children’s rights each step of the way.

A family law court will typically order shared custody between both parents. If one parental environment is harmful or detrimental to the child’s well-being, you need one of our strong family law attorneys to present evidence for sole custody to be awarded by a judge. If neither environment is harmful or detrimental, you will need our attorneys to explore the percentage of time you will share.

A wide variety of factors related to the child’s needs will be reviewed as the court determines the parameters for custody. Examples of the questions our family law attorneys explore are: Who is the more involved parent? Who completes the child’s daily routines? Does the other parent have a daily schedule that prevents involvement? It is also important not to disrupt the child’s already established lifestyle and school atmosphere. These are just examples of the early discussions we will have during our free consultation to determine child custody arrangements. We will take our time to speak with you, build a strong case, and effectively represent you in court.

Child’s Safety

A family law court will typically order that custody be shared. Alternately, the judge will rule that one parental environment is harmful or detrimental to the child’s well-being, in which case they will mandate sole custody to the other parent.

Child’s Needs

A wide variety of factors related to child’s needs will be reviewed as the court determines the parameters for custody. Our child custody lawyers will help you present a strong case so that the resolution is in the child’s best interests as well as your own.

At Fulmer Law, PA understand how to craft an argument that meets the expectations expressed in the child custody laws while delivering your message and advocating your position.

Child Custody Attorneys Review

Factors to be addressed by a child custody attorney include:

  • The affection and strength of the parent-child bond
  • The breadwinning or financial capacity of the parent
  • The stability and safeness of the child’s current home, as well as the extent to which they are accustomed to their surroundings
  • The risk that the other parent might be unwilling to participate civilly in shared custody
  • The physical, psychological, and ethical soundness of each parent
  • The behavior of the child in all aspects of their life
  • The opinion of the child (although not always applicable)
  • Any signs of physical or emotional abuse.

Our child custody lawyers have the compassion, drive, and experience to passionately and knowledgeably represent you.

Child Custody Law

Fundamental laws they will use to develop your case include the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (Title VI, Chapter 61) and Temporary Custody of Minor Children by Extended Family (Title XLIII, Chapter 751) provisions.

Child Custody FAQ

The State of Florida has replaced custody arrangements and no longer recognizes the term “custody.” What used to be termed “custody” is now called “time-sharing” and “parental responsibility.”

Time-sharing describes the legal guardian status, residency, and care taking responsibilities for the children. In most cases, parents share the responsibility and are awarded “shared parental responsibility” and “time-sharing” with their children.

The court will order a “time-sharing schedule” that is in the best interests of the children, while taking into consideration Florida Statutes on the Dissolution of Marriage; Support; Time Sharing (Title VI Civil Practice and Procedure Chapter 61.13 Dissolution of Marriage; Support; Time-Sharing).

Child custody is now referred to as “parental responsibility” and is determined by the courts according to the factors described in Title VI Section 61.13, of the Florida Statutes.

When you are seeking custody (or parental responsibility) of a child, it is critical to employ the help of a qualified family lawyer to protect your rights as a parent. The Court must consider the best interests of the child as enumerated in Title VI Section 61.13, Florida Statutes. Each and every factor described in Dissolution of Marriage, Support, and Time-Sharing Statutes are considered when making a decision. There is no presumption in favor of the mother or father.

The answer to this question depends on how full custody is defined. Based on the hundreds of cases we have conducted, most parents refer to “full custody” as the ability to make one-sided decisions on major parenting issues, as well as, the ability to control when and where the other parent will have visitation with their child.

Florida courts will not allow a complete sever of the other parents’ right to see their child, have overnight visits with their child, or have a relationship with their child. Typically, parents share time and have either “equal time sharing” or “majority time sharing” with their children.

It is difficult, but not unheard-of, for a parent to be awarded full or sole custody of a child. In extreme cases, in which a parent suffers from severe and untreated mental health disorders, is actively addicted to drugs/alcohol, and/or in situations where violent acts are committed against the other parent, or child it is possible to be awarded 100% parental responsibility.

First, you will need a superb child custody attorney who believes and supports you. Your family lawyer will help you gather detailed documentation to share your compelling story with a court of law. Fighting for full custody of a child can be an arduous battle. However, when the other parent is unstable, unreliable, on drugs, or simply dangerous, full custody may be the only viable option.

It is important to prioritize your desires and have realistic expectations when petitioning for full custody. At Fulmer Law, PA, it’s our job to help you gather evidence and convince the judge why the other parent is a danger to their child, based on weighing the factors described in Florida Statute 61.13.

Temporary custody, as detailed in Title XLIII Domestic Relations, Chapter 751 Temporary Custody of Minor Children by Extended Family, allows an adult family member to act as a parent for a child that lives with them and is not their biological child. By having temporary custody of a child, you are able to act as a parent for a child that lives with you by consenting to medical treatment, obtaining medical and school records, enrolling the child in school, and consenting to the child’s participation in school activities.

The legal team at Fulmer Law, PA will file a motion for temporary relief. The Court will then set a hearing and we can ask the Court to establish a temporary parenting plan.

Contact us immediately about filing an emergency motion with the Court. Time is of the utmost importance when seeking emergency custody for a child. Once we have reviewed the facts together and determined that the situation is indeed an emergency, our experienced family attorneys can file the correct motion with the court and set up an immediate hearing.

It is never a good idea to represent yourself in a child custody case. Florida custody laws and rules can be complex and often confusing to those who have no background or training in the law. Additionally, when you represent yourself in a custody case, you alone are responsible for moving the case toward a final hearing date. This means that you must carefully follow instructions when filing mandatory documents, providing proof of all requirements, moving the court to order the other party to fulfill his or her requirements, requesting a hearing date, and other complex legal tasks.

Retain Fulmer Law, PA today to represent you in your child custody case.

It varies. Schedule your no-obligation case review at Fulmer Law, PA, and we will evaluate your custody case. Once we review the details of your custody case, we can better answer this question for you.

It is best practice to consult with an experienced family law attorney before filing for child custody. The custody laws in each state are often complex and can be confusing to anyone who has limited training or background in the laws. Schedule your no-obligation case review with Fulmer Law, PA, and we will help guide you in the right direction with your custody case.

If there is a prior order in place, you must file a supplemental petition for modification. Your petition must be backed by evidence showing that there has been material, unanticipated, and substantial change in circumstances since the entry of the last order. Contact Fulmer Law, PA for more details to ensure that you are filing correctly and have evidence to support your request.

Many states are now requiring parents to attend mediation when dissolution of marriage involves child custody decisions. The goal of mediation is to help parents discuss issues in order to reach an agreement on custody and visitation. This mandatory mediation is designed to hopefully save children from controversial legal battles that last for months on end.

When preparing for child custody mediation, it is imperative to bring documentation of your claims. Our legal team will assist you in gathering evidence and detailed financial information to support your case. If an agreement cannot be reached, the mediator will make recommendations to the court based on the information presented in the mediation session, from the parents and occasionally the minor children.

Recommendations of the mediator often set the tone and create momentum that can influence the parental responsibility and time-sharing decisions of the Court. It is unlikely that repeated changes to the custody arrangements will be made, as the Court encourages a stable and consistent environment for the children.

Call Fulmer Law, PA today and get prepared for your child custody mediation. Never go into mediation without preparation and solid documentation that furthers your case for what you believe is in the best interests of your children.

Since the State of Florida does not recognize the term “custody,” you are most likely referring to the concept of “primary parental responsibility” of a child. This concept refers to the parent with whom the child spends the majority of their “time-sharing” with.

The State of Florida does not recognize the legal term “custody.” The court refers to all time spent with a parent as “parental responsibility” of a child. However, legal custody most reflects the parent who is able to make educational, medical, religious, and disciplinary decisions about a child.

Prepare. Prepare. Prepare. Gather evidence, read the law, and adhere to the rules. The family lawyers and support staff hired to represent you must be primed and ready when it comes to your case. Many lawyers we have faced in the courtroom show up unprepared, giving Fulmer Law, PA an advantage to win your child custody case.

Be actively involved in your children’s lives. This includes their education, medical and healthcare needs, as well as their extracurricular activities. Encourage and promote the child’s relationship with the other parent, and be flexible with time-sharing. Be sure to have the necessities needed to care for the child in your home. This includes: proper sleeping accommodations, child-proofing, age-appropriate furniture in their bedrooms, and developmentally appropriate toys and games. It is important to develop a loving and nurturing routine with your children when time-sharing, with regards to play time, homework, meals, and bedtime routines.

If you would like to spend more time with your child, call Fulmer Law, P.A. for a free consultation today!

Under Florida law, typically both parents share parental responsibility for their kids. If they can’t agree, a judge will decide what is in the best interests of the children. When going through a divorce, it is imperative that each parent seek help from a highly qualified and experienced family lawyer to ensure the best outcome for everyone involved. Call Fulmer Law, P.A. for a free consultation today!

This term is very often misused by parents. In Florida, there is no “joint custody.”

Many families that come into my office ask me, “What is joint custody of a child?” Their perceived understanding is that it is 50/50 time sharing with each parent, or when a child spends equal time with both parents. The legal phrasing referring to this situation would be, “shared parental responsibility with equal time sharing.”

You can achieve equal time sharing of your child based on an agreement between both parents. If an agreement cannot be made between the parents, then the courts will order a time sharing schedule based on the best interests of the child.

if you would like to obtain a time sharing schedule, call Fulmer Law, P.A. for a free consultation today!

In order to have “time sharing” with children, parents have to agree on a parenting plan with a time-sharing schedule through mediation or on their own.

If an agreement cannot be made by both parties, a parent can then file a motion and set it for a hearing. Contact the experienced family lawyers at Fulmer Law, PA today. Our firm practices ethically and highly values the importance of family. We can help create a solid case to get your children back in your arms.

Historically, the courts have favored mothers over fathers in custody cases, especially when a child is in their “tender years.” However, Florida courts have eliminated the tender years doctrine, and there is no presumption in favor of a mother or father. The court must consider all factors contained in Title VI Section 61.13, of the Florida Statutes when determining parental responsibility and time-sharing.

Legal guardianship is when an adult has legal decision-making authority over a minor or another person. The courts will appoint a surrogate decision-maker to make personal and/or financial decisions for a minor or an adult with physical or mental disabilities. Once adjudication is complete, the subject of the guardianship is called a “ward.”

Under Florida law, the court must appoint a guardian for minors in circumstances where both parents die or become incapacitated. Guardianship is only warranted when no other less restrictive alternative, including durable power of attorney (POA), trust, health care proxy, or other form of directive can be found by the court as appropriate. Both voluntary and involuntary guardianships can be petitioned for appointment under Title XLIII Domestic Relations Chapter 744 Guardianship of the Florida Statutes.

If you wish to try to obtain custody, you will need to convince the court that the child’s parents are unfit or that they have relinquished possession under the law, and that your guardianship serves the best interests of the child.

Contact the experienced team at Fulmer Law, PA for a case review. We will help show the courts that placing the children in your care is in the best interests of your grandchildren.

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