NOTE: The word “custody” is no longer the accepted term used by the Florida Bar. The Courts now prefer the word “timesharing” with one parent exercising “majority timesharing” or both parents exercising “equal timesharing”.
For the most part there’s nothing easy about divorce. And when a couple has children involved, things only get more difficult from there. First and foremost, parents never want to make their children feel guilty or like they’re to blame for a divorce. That’s why it’s important to contact an experienced family lawyer for help when custody is an issue. Here are some of the most important questions to ask a family lawyer about child custody during a divorce.
What is your experience with child custody cases?
When you talk to a family law attorney about child custody, it’s important to ask about their experience in dealing with these cases. Attorneys who specialize in family law and have extensive experience in that area, will be more knowledgeable of exactly how to advocate for a child’s needs, and what the laws are concerning custody and how that affects child support payments.
Are my custody requests reasonable?
Going through a divorce is difficult and it can be easy to act to act out of emotion rather than what’s in the best interest of the child. Your lawyer will be able to advise you on Florida law regarding custody and how the amount of time should be divided between both parents. He/she will also be able to calculate Child Support Guidelines to compute how much child support should be paid which depends on the amount of time the child spends with each parent.
Can I afford these services?
This is a great question to ask during your initial consultation. Attorneys’ hourly rates can vary greatly, so it’s important to discuss fees with any attorney up front before you secure their help. Fees can also vary depending on how agreeable you and your spouse are and whether you can come to an early agreement on custody.
A good family law attorney will guide parents through the divorce process with an eye on what’s in the best interest of the child. Divorce is hard enough on families. Children are not pawns and should not be used as a bargaining tool between parents. The idea is to reduce the impact of divorce on the child, and this can be accomplished successfully if both parents put the child’s needs first and are respectful of each other, particularly in front of the child.
Whether you have one child or three, these questions are important to ask. An experienced family law attorney will be able to explain your rights and Florida law on custody. He/she will be able to work with you and your spouse to shape a workable, flexible custody arrangement that’s in the best interest of the child and parents.