Child Custody

Tampa Child Custody Lawyer


At Harris, Hunt & Derr, P.A., we assist our clients by bringing knowledge and empathy to negotiations and litigation involving their children. 

Why You Should Consider Legal Representation for Child Custody:

Even though a lawyer is not required for child custody cases in Florida, they can be very beneficial. 

A lawyer can help you navigate the court system and advocate on your behalf. 

Our firm can also help you gather and present information to convince the judge of your position on the parenting plan and time-sharing schedule.

We can help with a range of issues, including the following:

  • Creation of a parenting plan
  • Determination of parental responsibility (custody)
  • Establishment of a time-sharing schedule (visitation)

We help clients resolve these issues on both a temporary and an ongoing basis. With extensive experience in contested custody/time-sharing cases, our attorneys make sure that our client’s voices are heard and that the best interests of their children come first.

How Is Child Custody Decided in Florida?

Child custody decisions in Florida are guided by the best interests of the child. For the child's welfare, the court determines the most suitable arrangement when parents separate. Key factors influencing child custody decisions include:

  • Child's Wishes: If the child demonstrates maturity, the court may take their preference into account, although it is not the exclusive deciding factor.
  • Parental Capacity: Courts assess each parent's ability to provide a stable and nurturing environment, considering factors like mental and physical health.
  • Home Environment: The safety and suitability of each parent's home are evaluated, including any history of domestic violence or substance abuse.
  • Co-Parenting Ability: Courts prefer parents who exhibit a readiness to support and foster a positive relationship between the child and the other parent.
  • Criminal History: Any criminal record, especially related to violence or endangerment, may impact custody decisions.
  • Consistency: Courts prefer arrangements that maintain stability for the child, including continuity in education and community ties.
  • Work Schedules: The ability of each parent to meet the child's needs, given their work commitments, is considered.

Comprehending these elements and building a compelling case is vital when navigating child custody proceedings in Florida. Seeking legal counsel from an experienced Tampa child custody lawyer ensures a comprehensive strategy that prioritizes the child's best interests.

Dedicated Child Custody Lawyers in Tampa Bay Area

Harris, Hunt & Derr, P.A., has relationships with highly experienced, highly respected parenting plan evaluators and parenting coordinators. We ensure that our clients are thoroughly prepared and educated on each issue. 

In every case we take on, we provide independent, neutral substantiation to strengthen each client's position.

We work with parents who are unmarried as well as parents who are going through a divorce in Tampa. Contact our child custody attorneys online today to learn more!

Understanding Parental Responsibility and Custody Types

Florida refers to child custody as parental responsibility. 

Shared responsibility means that both parents have the right to make decisions regarding the child’s upbringing. Sole responsibility means that only one parent has this right. 

Is Visitation the Same as Time-Sharing?

Yes, time-sharing is known in other states as visitation. It refers to the time that each parent gets to spend with the children.

Courts try to award shared responsibility and equal time sharing whenever possible. Sometimes, you may need to seek a modification to a court order.

Is Florida a Mother State?

No, Florida does not give priority to the mother in custody cases involving two married (but divorcing) parents.

That said, if the parents were never married, then the biological mother would be awarded sole responsibility for the child(ren). To get custody, the father would need to establish paternity.

Paternity can be established in two ways:

  • The father takes a DNA paternity test to prove his relation to the child(ren)
  • The mother confirms that the alleged father is indeed the father of the child(ren)

Crafting a Parenting Plan with Your Child's Best Interests in Mind

A parenting plan is a document that lays out your and your co-parenting partner’s responsibility and time-sharing plan. Your parenting plan should consider the best interests of the child(ren). Ideally, it should also work for each parent’s schedule.

Harris, Hunt & Derr, P.A., can help you reach a parenting plan that is in the best interests of your children while minimizing damage to your co-parenting relationship.

Schedule a Consultation with a Trusted Tampa Custody Attorney

At Harris, Hunt & Derr, P.A., we are known for our skill, integrity, and empathy. We always strive to collaborate and compromise with the other party. However, if they refuse to work together, we will advocate for you in court.

Our caring attorneys are ready to help you with your family law issues. Contact one of our offices in Tampa or St. Petersburg to schedule a consultation. We also serve clients in Clearwater, Sarasota, Brandon, and Fish Hawk.

Ready to Discuss Your Child Custody Needs? Contact Us Today

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