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Miami Child Custody Lawyer

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When it comes to family law in Florida, child custody is easily one of the most emotional and contentious aspects of divorce. Custody arrangements and parenting plans must be decided upon and approved by the court. If parents cannot come to an agreement, the court will make the decisions based on what it believes is in the best interests of the child.

When dealing with these challenging situations, call Beatriz Zyne, P.A. for experienced, determined, and, above all, compassionate representation. At our Miami family law firm, we take the time to understand your situation to provide personalized service and attention to detail. You will receive one-on-one assistance from our South Miami child custody attorney to work toward a favorable outcome.

Preparing for a custody battle in Florida? Call (305) 876-6138 to schedule a consultation with our experienced family law attorney.

Types of Child Custody in Florida

While the laws can be complex surrounding custody issues, the highest priority is to ensure you know what to present to the judge and how to present it. Our child custody attorney in South Miami all aspects of child custody and parenting plans, including child relocation and dependency. There are two primary types of child custody in Florida, including:

  • Physical custody – Where and with whom the child will primarily live
  • Legal custody – The right to make decisions about important aspects of the child’s care and upbringing, such as healthcare, education, and religion

In shared custody situations, both parents have legal custody while alternating physical custody. This is preferred by the courts since it seems to be the best way for children to maintain continuing and meaningful relationships with both parents.

What Is an “Unfit Parent” in Florida?

The courts in Florida will not place a child in the custody of an “unfit” parent because it would not be in the child’s best interests. An “unfit” parent is defined as the following:

  • Abused the child
  • Neglected the child
  • Abandoned the child
  • History of drug abuse
  • History of mental illness

Preventing a Judge from Making Parenting Decisions

When parents cannot agree on custody arrangements/parenting plans, the courts will decide these issues. Family courts can take a wide range of factors into consideration when making child custody decisions, such as:

  • Each parent’s financial health
  • Each parent’s employability
  • The age and health of the child
  • The age and health of each parent
  • Each parent’s relationship with the child
  • The quality of the co-parenting relationship
  • The safety of each parent’s living arrangements
  • Any history of domestic violence or substance abuse has been a factor

What Is a Parenting Plan?

When it comes to child custody cases, a parenting plan details how a child’s time will be divided between both parents, where and with whom the child will mainly live, and how major decisions about the child’s upbringing (such as education, religion, health care, other important matters) will be shared or divided between the parents.

Specific matters such as how to divide school breaks, vacations, birthdays, holidays, and other special occasions should also be included. How these arrangements are made will depend on proximity, parental work schedules, the child's wishes (if old enough to have a preference), and more.

2023 Updates to Florida’s Child Custody Laws

Effective July 1, 2023, Florida’s family laws underwent important changes. It’s imperative for parents and couples to understand the potential impacts of these modifications, whether it be an ongoing familial dispute or an existing court-ordered arrangement—such as parenting plans or alimony payments.

Below are some of the primary changes to Florida’s family laws in 2023:

Support for Dependent Adult Children (SB 226)

Effective 2023, Senate Bill 226 codified the common law obligation of parents to support dependent adult children beyond the age of 18, recognizing that child support obligations may extend beyond childhood.

The new legislation ensures that child support may continue for adult children with certain disabilities or educational pursuits and provides clarity on the procedures for dependent adult children to obtain the necessary support they require.

Under the new law, the definition of “dependent adult child” includes someone who is:

  • An unmarried adult
  • Incapable of self-support due to a mental or physical injury or disability
  • The onset of injury or disability must have occurred prior to the individual’s 18th birthday

This legislation ensures that parents continue to provide the necessary support for their children's well-being, even as they transition into adulthood, and provides clarity on the procedures for dependent adult children to obtain the necessary support they require.

Natural Guardians and Paternity (HB 775)

House Bill 775 reinforces the concept of “natural guardians” in child custody cases, emphasizing the rights and responsibilities of both biological parents. The update is expected to help streamline the paternity establishment process, making it more efficient and accessible and ensuring that both parents have a clear legal standing in their child’s life to promote fairness and stability.

The legislation also emphasizes the importance of establishing legal paternity and its impact on determining custody rights and obligations.

Domestic Violence/Greyson’s Law (SB 130)

Senate Bill 130, also known as Greyson's Law, addresses child custody concerns in cases involving domestic violence. This legislation provides additional safeguards for victims, particularly when it comes to child custody matters, to prioritize children’s safety and well-being, in addition to taking any history of domestic violence into account during custody determinations.

Child Support (HB 1087)

House Bill 1087 introduces modifications to child support guidelines in Florida. This legislation aims to ensure that child support orders are fair and reflect the financial realities of both parents. The new guidelines consider factors such as income changes, medical expenses, and the best interests of the child when assessing child support obligations.

Treatments for Sex Reassignment (SB 254)

This new law amends Florida Statute § 456.074, prohibiting patients younger than 18 years of age to undergo sex-reassignment prescriptions and procedures. The passing of Senate Bill 254 also provides that sex-reassignment prescriptions or procedures may not be prescribed, administered, or performed except by a licensed allopathic or osteopathic physician or a physician practicing medicine or osteopathic medicine in the employment of the federal government.

Parenting & Time-Sharing of Children (HB 1301)

The passing of House Bill 1301 removed the parental obligation to prove changes in circumstance are "unanticipated" in child custody modifications. However, it's still necessary to demonstrate a "substantial and material change in circumstances" in addition to proving the request is in the child's best interests.

A key result of the revision includes the presumption for equal time-sharing, reading, “Unless otherwise provided in this section or agreed to by the parties, there is a rebuttable presumption that equal time-sharing of a minor child is in the best interest of the minor child.”

To rebut the presumption, the law states that a party “a party must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that equal time-sharing is not in the best interests of the minor child.”

Dissolution of Marriage/Alimony (SB 1416)

Senate Bill 1416 revised Florida Statute § 61.08, eliminating permanent alimony in the state of Florida. Under the new law, types of alimony in Florida divorces include:

  • Durational
  • Rehabilitative
  • Bridge-the-gap

The legislation also introduces guidelines for determining the amount and duration of alimony payments. Family courts can take various factors into account when making decisions, such as the length of the marriage, the financial resources of each party, and contributions made during the marriage. With the elimination of permanent alimony, the party seeking support bears the burden of proof to demonstrate the need under Florida Statute § 61.08.

Compassionate Child Custody Attorney in Miami

Our goal at Beatriz Zyne, P.A. is to help promote cooperation and civility in an effort to lessen the trauma that this issue can have on both children and parents. We have many creative resources and skills to help you settle your custody dispute as painlessly as possible.

Child custody disputes in Florida can be emotionally taxing for families. Call (305) 876-6138 to request a consultation with a skilled Miami attorney.

  • Beatriz  Zyne Photo
    Beatriz Zyne
    I am a longtime Florida resident and, prior to law school, I worked as a legal secretary/paralegal. I have over 20 years of legal experience serving the South Florida community. While in law school I participated in the Alternative Dispute Resolution Clinic and served as a co-mediator in County Court cases. Therefore, I bring to the table negotiation skills that will help my clients resolve disputes in an amicable manner. If I can avoid lengthy litigation, I will do so. Many of my cases have ...

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