Parenting Plans Attorney in St. Petersburg, Florida
When married parents divorce or unwed parents separate, they need legally enforceable family court orders that dictate custody and visitation rights for their children. The family court of St. Petersburg is required to ensure every custody order approved in the state aligns with the best interests of the children to whom it applies. In addition, parents bracing for custody determinations often have pressing legal questions about what their future parenting plans could entail.
Legal Representation for St. Petersburg, FL, Parenting Plans
Attorney Garth R. Goodman, PA, has almost 30 years of experience representing St. Petersburg area clients in a wide range of family court cases, including difficult custody and visitation disputes. Whether your impending custody determination is part of a larger divorce case or a standalone legal issue between you and your co-parent, Attorney Goodman can provide the consistent legal support and responsive counsel you need to navigate your case successfully.
Attorney Goodman takes time to learn as much as possible about each client’s circumstances, helping them make more informed decisions about the direction of their case. For example, a custody order that includes parenting rights and responsibilities will dictate where the children spend their time, which parent is responsible for making major decisions, and how they handle visitation. An experienced St. Petersburg custody and visitation attorney is an invaluable asset for any parent seeking to maximize their custody rights.
How Is Custody Determined in Florida?
The family courts of Florida are legally obligated to preserve the best interests of children in every custody determination. Therefore, when the court must rule on a parenting plan, settling custody rights and a visitation schedule for a child’s parents, the judge overseeing the case must evaluate numerous factors:
Custodial parents must be able to meet their child’s basic everyday needs, including food, clothing, and shelter. In addition, any parent seeking custody must show that they have living space readily available for their child.
Parents must be able to ensure their children receive an education and have access to any necessary medical treatments they may require. Judges will assess parents’ living conditions and proximity to health care providers, schools, daycare centers, and extended relatives.
The judge must determine whether a parent is fit to handle custody rights, assessing their criminal record, their overall medical status, signs of substance abuse disorder, and their mental capacity for handling parenting responsibilities.
Judges often want to hear the preferences of the children involved in custody cases when those children are old enough to convey their thoughts to the court.
When one parent receives custody and the ability to make important decisions, the other parent may only qualify for visitation. The judge must decide what visitation schedule would best suit the child’s needs and interests.
Parents often hold misconceptions about how custody rights are determined. Some believe that mothers are inherently advantaged in custody disputes, and others assume that a custody and visitation order can never be changed. Every case is unique, and no attorney can ever promise a specific outcome to any client’s case, but an experienced St. Petersburg custody and visitation attorney can significantly improve their client’s chance of securing the parenting plan they prefer.
What to Expect From a St. Petersburg Parenting Plan Attorney
When you choose Attorney Garth R. Goodman, PA, to represent you in a parenting plan determination, you can expect personalized legal representation and responsive communication throughout every phase of your case. Attorney Goodman learns as much as possible about each client’s unique needs and circumstances, developing individually tailored legal strategies for every client.
Making your case for custody may require providing the judge with specific documents, gathering references from people who know you and your relationships with your children well, and any other information specific to the details of your case. While many divorcing parents choose to resolve their dissolution proceedings through alternative dispute resolution, custody and visitation disputes cannot be resolved privately. Whether your custody and visitation determination is part of a bigger divorce case or a standalone issue between you and your co-parent, Attorney Goodman can provide the legal support you need to approach the situation with confidence.
Custody and Visitation Modifications and Enforcement
Family law is a unique area of civil law pertaining to legal affairs among families. Florida’s family law statutes allow individuals beholden to family court orders to request reasonable alterations to those orders when they experience unexpected life events. For example, if you have a standing family court order for custody and visitation, the birth of another child, the loss of a job, a medical emergency, or a severe injury could all constitute valid grounds to petition for a change to your current custody and visitation terms.
Some parents file petitions to modify their custody orders to seek greater custody rights. Others are compelled to file these petitions when circumstances beyond their control prevent them from exercising their custody rights, and they need their co-parent to assume greater parental responsibility. In other cases, modifications are requested regarding child support payments when parents encounter financial difficulties that prevent them from meeting their support obligations.
It’s also possible to petition the court to enforce a standing custody or visitation order. When a parent fails or refuses to comply with a custody and visitation order, they face contempt of court charges. Depending on the nature of their violation, they could face fines, jail time, and a loss of any custody rights they may hold. If a parent encounters any issues that prevent them from adhering to the terms of a family court order, they should consult their St. Petersburg custody and visitation attorney as soon as possible and consider filing a petition for modification.
Attorney Garth R. Goodman, PA, offers almost 30 years of experience in Florida family law, careful attention to detail, and ongoing compassionate support to every client represented in St. Petersburg. Whether you are facing a new custody dispute or returning to family court to revise an existing custody or visitation order, Attorney Goodman can help. To discuss your legal options with an experienced St. Petersburg parenting plan lawyer, contact Attorney Garth R. Goodman, PA, today to schedule a consultation.