Issues Involving Children
At Adams & Luka, our Orlando family law attorneys understand that some of the most critical issues in the practice of family law are those that involve children. Whether you are parents who are divorcing or have a finalized divorce and are trying to come to an agreement regarding your children, we understand the emotional impact and trauma children often experience. Therefore, it is vital to choose an experienced, compassionate attorney when dealing in legal matters involving children.
Ultimately, no matter how amicable or contentious a situation between parents or legal guardians is, it is important that your attorney and the courts focus first on the best interests of the children. Divorce is extremely common today; whether you are married, have been married, or share children without the benefit of marriage, there are ways to resolve issues while protecting the emotional and psychological health of any involved minor children to the greatest extent possible. Below are common issues that occur when parties disagree, and minor children are involved.Child Abduction
We understand that during custody disputes, you desire a positive resolution to your issue, but you also want what is best for your children. Since emotions run high regarding all issues involving your children, especially when they do not live with you full-time, it can result in one parent acting rashly and leaving with the child. As the custodial or non-custodial parent, it is crucial to act within the orders issued by the court and to not stray from them in such a manner. While we hope to avoid this situation, if the non-custodial parent has taken your child, there are legal remedies to have the child returned to you. If this occurs, the parent may petition for a new custody agreement and a return of the child to prevent this traumatic situation from ever happening again. Protecting your children and helping them remain emotionally stable regardless of how sensitive the issues are is our primary goal.Child Custody
Even with the best plan in place, custody agreements can still go awry. Whether this involves a parent not exercising their visitation rights or a non-custodial parent not returning the child at the correct time, interference with custody is a major problem parents may face. For parents in Florida, it is crucial to know that it is a crime for someone, whether it be a parent, guardian, or another party, to interfere with the parent’s custodial rights without the permission of the court.Child Relocation
Simple moves within town are not of concern to the court because a relationship between the child and non-relocating parent can be maintained without a change to the original custody agreement. However, courts must approve a move that is further than 50 miles from the non-custodial parent since the distance can negatively affect the relationship between the non-custodial parent. As a result, a relocation dispute can occur when the non-custodial parent is concerned regarding the effect of the move on their relationship with their child. In these situations, the court will decide whether a relocation is in the best interest of the child and how the non-custodial parent’s relationship with the child could potentially change.Paternity
Since not all children are born to married couples, there is sometimes a need to legally determine who a child’s father is. This is done through DNA testing to officially establish the child’s paternity. By doing so, mothers are better able to enforce child support orders if the father is not paying or even reunite fathers with their estranged children. If there is no disagreement regarding the legal paternity of a child, the father can sign a form acknowledging his paternity to assert all the legal rights a father is entitled to.Factors Considered in Issues Involving Children
For all the above issues and any other family law matter which involves minor children, the courts evaluate many factors to determine what solutions are in the best interest of the child, or how certain decisions will affect the child's welfare. These factors may include:
- Whether the child has been abused by a parent, or involved in domestic violence
- How morally “fit” a parent is
- Physical and/or mental health of parents
- For children who are mature and intelligent, the preference of the child regarding which parent they would prefer to live with
- How capable each parent is in terms of providing a child with clothing, food, housing, medical care, and other necessities
- The child's home, school, and community record
Parents who divorce or unmarried parents who separate are understandably concerned about who will have custody, visitation, shared parenting, child support, and other related issues. We understand your concerns and will work vigorously to reach your desired outcome while keeping your child or children's best interests at heart. For outstanding legal guidance and support regarding family issues, contact Adams & Luka now at 407-872-0303 or 352-357-4084.