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How can an experienced attorney advocate for a parent in the child custody process?

Previously, we looked briefly at the factors Florida courts consider when making child custody determinations. As we noted, courts may ultimately take into account any factor impacting the best interests of the child, which is really the governing factor.

One important point that needs to be made about the child custody process is that, because courts are primarily looking to ensure the best interests of the child, the decision is really not ultimately about the parents and their interests. This can be a difficult thing for some parents to deal with, particularly when what is best for the child means spending less or no time with them. Parents should not take this to mean that the advocacy of an experienced advocate is not necessary, though. On the contrary, it is very important. 

One thing an experienced attorney will do in any child custody case is attempt to help work out a sustainable parenting plan both parents can agree on. If that fails, an attorney will ensure that the court has all the facts necessary to make the best possible decision for the child. This includes, first of all, making sure the court knows about any factors which dictate against awarding shared custody, particularly things like abuse and domestic violence. Second, an experienced attorney will make sure that a parent counters any misinformation or false accusations made by the other parent. In contentious cases, this is important to ensure the court doesn’t make decisions based on wrong information or misunderstandings.

Thirdly, an attorney can help ensure the court gives appropriate consideration to the various factors involved in the decision. Putting certain factors in proper context may require emphasizing some over others, or giving special weight to one particular factor, as the case may require.

Ideally, of course, couples will be able to work out their differences peacefully and come to a mutual agreement about parenting time. When that is not possible, an experienced family law attorney can help zealously represent a parent’s rights as they impact the best interests of the child. 

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