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Affordable Child Custody Lawyer St. Petersburg, FL | Jerome C. Williams, Jr. Attorney at Law
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You may find that you are in a situation where you are responsible for your child, irregardless of the situation.  If you find yourself in this type of situation, I may be able to help.  At our firm, we take the time to study your circumstances carefully in order to maximize your success when it comes to majority time-sharing for your child.  Please note that there is a direct correlation when it comes to the number of overnights awarded in your request for time-sharing and child support. This is more often than not an issue that should be left for an attorney to assist with.  A mistake made by a pro se litigant can cost his/her child(ren) thousands throughout their children's lifetime.  

When it comes to custody (now called "Time-Sharing") in the state of Florida, usually both parties make a request as to the number of overnights that parent wants to spend with their child(ren).  There are a number of things you can do to bolster your case, such as bringing in expert witnesses to testify that you are the better parent. Issues revolving around Child Custody (Time-Sharing) can bring the worst out of people, however, with a calm, aggressive and tactful approach, your goal can be achieved.  

Contrary to what most people believe, in the state of Florida, the Court does not favor one party over another.  There is a longstanding misconception that when it comes to Paternity cases, that the mother is favored over the father and he doesn't stand a chance in court.  I can't tell you how false that is.  Per Fl. Stat. 61.13(2)(c)(1) it is required that each minor child have frequent and continuing contact with both parents.   

Another issue that arises time and time again, is the issue of Paternity.  Usually when a couple is not married, there is no presumption of who the child's natural father is. With Paternity actions, it enables the party to establish time-sharing with their child, along with child support. The easiest way to handle these matters is through blood testing or DNA testing.  

Last, but not least there is often confusion amongst individuals as to the difference between Physical custody and Legal Custody.  Physical Custody usually refers to the amount of time (usually overnights) each parent is allowed to physically be with a child.  It can be sole, primary or joint custody.  In the state of Florida however, they have abandoned these terms in favor of "Time-sharing. Legal custody refers to a parent's decision making in regards to the child's health, education and well being.  While laid out in the parenting plan, you can opt for shared parental responsibilitysole parental responsibility, or shared with decision making authority.  

Here is one question that comes up pretty often when dealing with "time-sharing": 

What does the court consider in determining custody of minor children?

First, Florida Section 61.13(2)(a) provides that Florida courts will claim jurisdiction to determine custody of minor children whose parents are separating, if it appears to the court that the child was removed from this state for the primary purpose of removing the child(ren) from the jurisdiction of the court to attempt to avoid a determination or modification of custody.

With regard to determination of custody of children over which the court exerts control, Florida statute 6113(2)(b)(1) provides that determination will be in accordance with the best interests of the child and in accordance with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. State public policy assures that each minor child has “frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents separate or the marriage of the parties is dissolved, and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities, and joys, of child-rearing.” It further states that the “father of the child shall be given the same consideration as the mother in determining the primary residence of a child irrespective of the age or the sex (gender) of the child.” Note that this last statement expressly revokes the so-called “tender years doctrine”, which presumed that mothers are better with small children, and with little girls. 

As a family law attorney located in St. Petersburg, FL, I am dedicated to ensuring that all families reach an amicable solution to any legal problem encountered.  Again, when it comes to the care and well being of your child(ren), it is imperative that you hire an attorney that will fight for you as well as your child(ren).  Please feel free to contact our office for your consultation.  We start most custody cases with $1,000 down, billed out at $200 per hour.  Flat fee options are available. 

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