Child Custody

Divorce Lawyer

The most important role of a divorce attorney is to help a parent get custody of their children. Many years ago, the courts would grant one parent "custody" and the other parent would receive "visitation" The parent who received custody would have the ability to make all decisions concerning the parent's children and the other parent would have little or no rights. Eventually the legal system evolved and the concept of "custody" was replaced with "shared parental responsibility." Under the concept of shared parental responsibility, both parents are given required to consult with each other and agree upon substantial questions relating to religious upbringing, educational programs, financial, moral, social, recreational, discipline, medical and dental care of their children, regardless of where the children live. Further, both parties were able to have equal access to medical and school information. Instead of custody, one of the parent's was designated the primary residential parent while the other parent was designated the secondary residential parent. However, for all intents and purposes, the primary residential parent was still the "custodial" parent, although the non custodial parent was allowed more input. As a Florida divorce lawyer, nothing makes me happier than fighting and winning custody for a loving parent.

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In a divorce, both parties have the ability to conduct discovery on the other party. Methods of doing this include Requests for Production of Documents, Interrogatories, Requests for Admissions, issuing subpoenas, and the taking of depositions.

As your Florida divorce lawyer, I can file Motions which ask judge to grant temporary relief for matters such as custody, child support, alimony, exclusive

use of the marital home, and attorney fees. However, all judges require the parties to attempt to mediate these issues before allowing a hearing to be set.

Mediation is a process where the parties attempt to reach an agreement with the assistance of an impartial neutral third party. The mediator does not make any decisions, but only attempts to get the parties to enter into a Marital Settlement

Agreement. If the parties are able to reach an agreement, the judge will approve the agreement and enter a Final Judgment which incorporates the agreement into the Final Judgment. This way the agreement is no longer just a private contract, but a court order that can be punished by a Judicial Order of Contempt.

If the parties are unable to reach a settlement, then the case will be set for

a trial before the judge. Parties are not entitled to jury trials in family law cases. However, the same rules of evidence apply at a divorce trial as any other civil case. The judge will then enter a Final Judgment which legally dissolves the marriage and governs the division of the assets, establishes custody, visitation, and child support. It is important that your Florida divorce lawyer is

familiar with the Florida Rules of Evidence and Civil Procedure. If either party thinks that the judge made a legal mistake during the trial or the judge abused his discretion, that party can file an appeal to the appellate court for review. If the appellate court reverses the lower court?s ruling, it can send the case back to the original trial judge.