Child Custody Lawyer Tampa FL

child custody lawyer tampa fl Attorney McKinney smiling with a dog.






Child Custody Lawyer in Tampa FL

If you are going through a child custody battle, you may want to speak to a child custody lawyer Tampa FL trusts, like Damien McKinney. He has 10 years of experience in family law and is ready to assist you. Child custody cases are often very complex and it’s important to know that a trustworthy lawyer is on your side.

The bond between a parent and child is unique. When that bond is healthy and allowed to thrive, it can be the single most precious relationship in the lives of both parent and child. Unfortunately, tensions and practical challenges that traditionally influence child custody and child support disputes can threaten the health and stability of such bonds. As a result, it is critically important for parents to approach child custody and child support matters with the greatest of care. Working with a top Tampa, Florida child custody attorney will help to ensure that your legal strategy is strong and that you have the greatest possible chance of achieving your child custody and/or support goals. 

Preparing for an Initial Consultation

When preparing to meet with a top Tampa, FL child custody attorney for the first time, it helps to write down any questions you may have about your situation, your legal case and/or your attorney’s approach to representation in advance. If you are not comfortable with your representation, any tensions in your attorney-client relationship could impact the success of your case. As a result, it is important to begin communicating about your questions and concerns from the start. The more clarification you can obtain, the more likely you will be able to set your mind at ease.

In addition to asking questions about your case, do not hesitate to ask questions about your top Tampa, FL child custody attorney’s level of experience, approach to cases like yours, fees, communication style and expectations for your legal process. There is no single “correct” approach to the attorney-client relationship. Voicing your concerns and learning about your lawyer’s style will help you to understand how best to move forward and what to expect from the progression of your case. Given how sensitive and uniquely important your situation is, your attorney-client relationship should be strong from the start.

Understanding Custody Lawyers and Their Areas of Focus

Child custody cases are among the most complex and emotionally charged legal matters, necessitating the expertise of a custody lawyer who specializes in this intricate field. A custody lawyer is a legal professional dedicated to navigating the often convoluted and sensitive issues surrounding the custody of children. Their primary role is to represent and advocate for the interests of both the parent and the child in legal proceedings, ensuring that the outcome aligns with the child’s best interests. These lawyers are skilled in interpreting and applying family law, adept at negotiating with other parties, and experienced in presenting compelling cases before the court.

At The McKinney Law Group in Tampa, FL, we exemplify the proficiency and dedication required in the field of family law and child custody cases. Specializing in these areas, we offer a comprehensive range of services tailored to meet the unique challenges of each case we handle. Our team of lawyers possesses a deep understanding of Florida’s child custody laws and is well-equipped to navigate the legal intricacies specific to our state.

Tampa Custody Attorney

What is a Custody Lawyer?

As a Tampa FL Custody Lawyer at The McKinney Law Group, my specialization lies in managing cases that revolve around the legal custody of children. In this role, I am committed to addressing and resolving issues that impact the welfare and living arrangements of children in the wake of a divorce or separation. My primary objective is to ensure that the child’s best interests are the central focus of all legal proceedings and decisions. Navigating the sensitive and intricate domain of child custody requires not just legal acumen but also a profound understanding of family dynamics. At The McKinney Law Group, we offer the expertise and guidance essential in these complex custody matters, ensuring that every decision aligns with the best interests of the children involved.

Areas of Focus for a Custody Lawyer

A custody lawyer, also known as a child custody attorney, is a legal expert who primarily deals with cases concerning the custody of children. These professionals are deeply committed to addressing various aspects that impact the welfare and living conditions of children in the aftermath of a divorce or separation. The paramount objective of a custody lawyer is to ensure that the child’s best interests are the central concern in all legal deliberations and resolutions.

Custody lawyers handle an array of intricate issues pertaining to child custody. These include, but are not limited to:

Legal Custody: 

This critical aspect of child custody involves determining which parent will have the authority to make significant decisions in a child’s life. Legal custody covers the right to decide on crucial matters such as the child’s educational path, healthcare decisions, including medical treatments and psychological counseling, and religious practices. A custody lawyer navigates the legal system to ensure that the decision-making rights are granted to the parent who best serves the child’s interests, sometimes resulting in joint legal custody, where both parents share these responsibilities.

Physical Custody:

Physical custody relates to where the child will primarily reside. This determination goes beyond just choosing a home for the child; it includes crafting a comprehensive visitation schedule that takes into account various factors like the parents’ work schedules, the child’s schooling, and emotional needs. Custody lawyers work to create a balanced arrangement that maintains the child’s stability while ensuring that both parents have meaningful time with their child.

Joint Custody: 

In joint custody situations, lawyers are essential in formulating agreements that allow both parents to share legal and/or physical custody. This requires careful balancing of schedules, decision-making processes, and responsibilities. Lawyers aim to draft agreements that facilitate cooperation between parents in raising their child, ensuring both parents play active roles in the child’s life.

Sole Custody: 

Sole custody is sought when it is deemed in the best interest of the child for one parent to have exclusive legal and physical custody. This might be due to various factors, including concerns about the other parent’s ability to provide a safe and stable environment. Custody lawyers advocate for the child’s best interests in these cases, providing evidence and legal arguments to support the claim for sole custody.

Modification of Custody Orders:

Circumstances change, and custody orders may need to be modified. Custody lawyers assist in revising custody agreements, whether due to changes in parents’ life circumstances, such as relocation, changes in employment, or alterations in the child’s needs as they grow older. They ensure that the modifications are legally formalized and reflect the current best interests of the child.

Enforcement of Custody Orders: 

Lawyers play a pivotal role in ensuring that custody orders are adhered to. When violations occur, such as a parent not adhering to the visitation schedule or denying the other parent their legal rights, custody lawyers take necessary legal actions, which can include court motions to enforce the order or even revising the custody agreement if needed.

Paternity Issues: 

Establishing paternity is a significant legal process with implications for custody and support. Custody lawyers help in legally establishing paternity, which is crucial for issues like child support, inheritance rights, and the psychological well-being of the child, ensuring the child has a legal bond with both parents.

Relocation Disputes: 

When a parent wishes to move to a different geographic location with the child, it can create complex legal challenges, especially when it affects the existing custody arrangement. Lawyers adeptly handle these disputes, balancing the interests of the relocating parent with the potential impact on the child’s relationship with the other parent and the overall custody agreement. They work to find solutions that uphold the child’s best interests while respecting the rights of both parents.

Through their specialized knowledge and skills, custody lawyers like those at The McKinney Law Group provide invaluable support and guidance, ensuring that the intricate matters of child custody are handled with the utmost care and consideration for the child’s best interests.

Parental Responsibility & Parental Rights

At McKinney Law Group, as experienced Tampa FL Custody Lawyers, we understand the complex and often emotional journey involved in navigating the intricate dynamics of parental responsibility and rights. When families find themselves in the midst of a legal battle, these issues become even more pronounced and delicate.

Our expertise lies in guiding and supporting parents through the multifaceted aspects of parental responsibility and parental rights. This journey is not just about legal battles; it’s about understanding and balancing the nuanced responsibilities that come with parenting. From making crucial decisions regarding a child’s education and health to understanding the legal implications of these choices, our role is to provide clarity and direction.

Our focus is on ensuring that our clients’ rights are fully recognized and respected within the legal framework. We work tirelessly to protect these rights, whether it involves custody arrangements, visitation schedules, or decision-making powers.

At the McKinney Law Group, we are deeply committed to supporting our clients in Tampa, FL, as they navigate through these challenging times. Our approach is tailored to each unique family situation, recognizing that each case requires a personalized strategy. We aim to provide not only legal expertise but also emotional support, ensuring that the best interests of the children and the parental rights are at the forefront of every decision.

Understanding Parental Responsibility

Parental responsibility is a multifaceted concept that involves a comprehensive range of duties, powers, privileges, and responsibilities that a parent possesses concerning their child. This concept is pivotal in shaping a child’s life and includes several key aspects:

  • Decision-Making Authority: This aspect of parental responsibility highlights the vital role parents play in making critical decisions that profoundly affect their child’s life. These decisions encompass a wide array of areas, including but not limited to education, lifestyle, and the social environment in which the child grows.
  • Welfare and Well-Being: At the core of parental responsibility lies the imperative of ensuring the child’s overall well-being. This responsibility extends beyond mere physical health to include emotional support, mental health care, and fostering a nurturing environment that promotes the child’s educational and personal development.
  • Legal Rights and Representation: Parental responsibility confers upon parents the legal rights to act and make decisions on behalf of their child. This legal aspect empowers parents to represent their child in various legal and administrative settings, ensuring that the child’s rights and interests are adequately protected.
  • Duration and Scope: Typically, parental responsibility is a long-term commitment that extends until the child reaches adulthood, generally recognized as the age of 18. During this period, parents are expected to continuously adapt their approach to parenting as their child grows and their needs evolve.

Parental responsibility is a dynamic and comprehensive concept that encompasses a broad spectrum of roles and duties, all aimed at nurturing, protecting, and guiding a child through their formative years into adulthood.

Child Custody Infographic

Understanding Parental Responsibility InfographicUnderstanding Parental Rights

Parental rights refer to the legal rights a parent has in relation to their child. These rights are often asserted in legal battles involving custody, visitation, and child support.

Key Aspects of Parental Rights:

  • Custody Rights: Custody rights entail more than just the physical presence of the child with the parent; they encompass the comprehensive responsibility of caring for and nurturing the child. This includes providing a safe and stable home environment, attending to the day-to-day needs of the child, and ensuring their overall well-being. Custody rights also imply the responsibility to make routine decisions regarding the child’s daily life, such as meal planning, recreational activities, and bedtime routines.
  • Visitation Rights: Visitation rights are vital for non-custodial parents, allowing them to maintain a meaningful relationship with their child. These rights usually follow a predetermined schedule, agreed upon by both parents or ordered by a court, which outlines specific times and durations for visitation. This schedule may include weekends, holidays, and special occasions, and is designed to ensure that the child has regular and ongoing contact with the non-custodial parent, thereby nurturing their emotional bond.
  • Decision-Making Rights: Decision-making rights are a crucial aspect of parental rights, encompassing the authority to be involved in significant decisions affecting the child’s life. These decisions can range from educational choices, such as selecting schools and deciding on extracurricular activities, to health-related decisions like medical treatments and lifestyle choices. This right ensures that both parents have a say in shaping the child’s future and welfare, regardless of who holds primary custody.
  • Protection of Rights: There are established legal avenues to protect and assert these parental rights. This includes seeking legal recourse through family courts to resolve disputes, enforce custody and visitation agreements, and modify arrangements as circumstances change. Legal intervention can also be sought in cases where a parent’s rights are being infringed upon, ensuring that the best interests of the child and the rights of both parents are upheld and respected.

Ensuring the protection of your parental rights and responsibilities is paramount. At The McKinney Law Group, we understand the significance of these matters and are here to provide the expert legal support you require. We encourage you to contact us today to discuss your situation and explore the ways in which we can assist you. Together, we can work towards safeguarding your rights and ensuring the best possible outcome for your family.

Child Custody & Time Sharing

When it comes to matters of child custody and time sharing, it’s crucial to have the right legal support by your side. At The McKinney Law Group, we will provide you with the best understanding of your rights and responsibilities.

Understanding Child Custody and Time Sharing

Child custody and time sharing refer to the legal arrangements made between parents or legal guardians for the care and living arrangements of their child following a divorce or separation.

Creating a Schedule: 

Time sharing involves formulating a clear, balanced, and practical timetable that dictates when the child will spend time with each parent. This schedule must take into account various factors such as the parents’ work schedules, the child’s school and activity timetable, and the geographical distance between the parents’ homes. The aim is to create a routine that provides stability and consistency for the child, while also being fair and equitable to both parents.

Flexibility and Cooperation: 

An essential element of successful time sharing is fostering an environment of cooperation and flexibility between the parents. This approach is crucial for accommodating unexpected changes in schedules, special occasions, and the evolving needs of the child as they grow older. Promoting a cooperative spirit and a willingness to adapt helps in ensuring that the child’s well-being and best interests are always the priority in any time-sharing arrangement.

Understanding the nuances of these aspects of child custody is vital for parents navigating through custody discussions or legal proceedings. Each facet plays a significant role in ensuring the child’s overall well-being and stability, and careful consideration is needed to create the best possible arrangement for the child and the family as a whole.

At The McKinney Law Group, we understand the intricacies and sensitivities involved in child custody and time sharing matters. Our team is dedicated to providing you with the expert legal guidance and support you need.

Child Custody FAQs

What factors do courts consider when determining child custody?

Courts primarily focus on the best interests of the child when determining custody arrangements. This includes considering the child’s age, health, emotional ties to each parent, parents’ ability to provide for the child’s basic needs, the child’s established living pattern (school, home, community), and any history of family violence or substance abuse. The child’s preference may also be considered, depending on their age and maturity level.

Can a child choose which parent to live with?

While a child’s preference is one of the factors considered, it is not the sole determinant in custody decisions. The court will consider the child’s age and maturity level to assess how much weight to give their preference. Generally, older and more mature children’s preferences are given more consideration, but the final decision is always based on what the court deems is in the child’s best interests.

How is child custody affected if one parent moves out of state?

If one parent plans to move out of state, this can significantly impact existing custody arrangements. Typically, this situation requires revisiting the custody agreement in court. The court will consider the reasons for the move, its impact on the child’s relationship with both parents, and how it affects the child’s best interests before making any modifications to the custody arrangements.

Can grandparents or other relatives be granted custody of a child?

In certain circumstances, grandparents or other relatives can be granted custody if it’s in the best interest of the child, especially if there are concerns about the parents’ ability to provide a safe and stable environment. Courts generally prefer to place children with close relatives rather than in foster care if both parents are deemed unfit.

Is it possible to modify a child custody agreement?

Yes, child custody agreements can be modified. However, to do so, the parent requesting the change must demonstrate a significant change in circumstances since the original order was made. This could include changes in work schedule, relocation, changes in the child’s needs, or concerns about the child’s well-being. The court will then review the request to determine if a modification is in the child’s best interests.

Does Custody Always Get Awarded to One Parent?

It is a common belief that custody is usually given to one parent. However, judges frequently award custody to both parents, as a child custody lawyer in Tampa FL can attest. This is known as joint custody. Here are three types of joint custody:

Joint legal custody – Parents both have a say on educational, medical and religious matters that involve the children.
Joint physical custody – Children spend a significant amount of time with each parent.
Both joint physical custody and legal custody.

What Factors Are Considered When Deciding Who Gets Custody?

Before awarding custody to one or both parents, a judge will consider the child’s best interests. As a child custody lawyer Tampa FL locals trust can confirm, here are a few factors the judges look at before awarding custody to a parent:

  • Each parent’s mental and physical health: If a parent’s mental or physical health is not good, a judge may worry that he or she may not be able to take care of the children properly and award custody to the other parent.
  • Each parent’s financial situation: A child custody lawyer Tampa FL residents rely on has seen judges take every parent’s financial situation into consideration during a child custody battle. A judge wants to make sure a parent has the financial resources to provide shelter, food, clothing and other necessities for a child before awarding custody.
  • The child’s preference: If the child is at least 12, the judge may consider who he or she wants to live with.
  • Each parent’s living situation: As a Tampa child custody lawyer can verify, judges often look into every parent’s living situation during custody battles. For example, the judge may decide to award custody to the parent who continues to live in the family home to provide the child with some type of stability after the divorce.
  • Each parent’s lifestyle: The way a parent lives his or her life is also taken into account during a child custody battle. For instance, if a parent abuses alcohol or is a convicted felon, the judge may be wary about awarding that parent custody.
  • Each parent’s relationship with the child: A child custody lawyer Tampa FL locals depend on has known judges who look at each parent’s relationship with the child prior to the divorce. If a child and parent did not have a very close relationship before, the judge may decide against awarding that parent custody.

Understanding Child Custody in Florida

Child custody is an outdated term in the Florida legal system, but still widely used by laypersons. Now it is legally referred to as “parental responsibility” and “time sharing”. Parental responsibility refers to the right to make decisions about how a child is raised. Time sharing refers to the total amount of time any one parent spends with the child.

Although these terms were developed by the courts in an attempt to decrease disputes between parents and their responsibilities to their children, arguments still occur. When they do, resolving them without a child custody attorney Tampa FL respects can be very difficult.

How Courts Decide on Child Custody

A child custody attorney in Tampa FL can tell you that under Florida law, the courts are required to decide on time sharing and parental responsibility of separating or divorcing parents. These decisions are made with the best interests of the child/children in mind. Very often the court orders shared responsibility unless they feel this order would be harmful to the child’s well being. Laws do not favor the mother or father, and may take into consideration a time sharing schedule and parenting plan. A child custody attorney Tampa FL relies on can help make the process smoother and more productive.

Some factors that may be taken into consideration when determining child custody (or time sharing and parental responsibility) include:

  • The willingness of each parent to encourage a close relationship with the child.
  • The morals of the parents.
  • The ability to be reasonable when time sharing changes are required.
  • The preferences of a child.
  • The capacity of each parent to provide a healthy, consistent routine for the child.
  • The capacity of each parent to be involved with the child’s school and any activities.

Other factors that may be considered include:

  • Whether or not domestic violence or sexual abuse was involved in parenting or against the other parent.
  • Whether or not one parent is facing jail/prison time, or already incarcerated.
  • The earning capacity of each parent.
  • If a parent’s whereabouts is unknown, or they have no desire to be involved in the children’s life, the court may grant full custody to the other parent, or in some cases a guardian. A child custody attorney Tampa FL has to offer can further explain what options are available and what you might expect in your own case.

The Benefits of Hiring a Child Custody Lawyer

Child custody battles can be stressful, so working with a child custody lawyer Tampa FL residents trust may be beneficial. He or she can get your case moving in the right direction. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of hiring a child custody lawyer.

  • Knowledge of the Legal System: Child custody laws are complicated, so it may help to have someone with extensive knowledge of the legal system on your side. A reputable child custody lawyer in Tampa FL has likely dealt with cases similar to yours in the past and knows what it takes to get a favorable outcome. He or she can give you valuable advice and prevent you from making mistakes.
  • Assistance with the Paperwork: Child custody cases involves a lot of paperwork. If you don’t understand certain terminology in the documents, you might make an error that could delay your case or cause it to be denied. If you have a child custody lawyer Tampa FL locals respect by your side, he or she can help you fill out the paperwork accurately.
  • Getting Child Support Payments: If you do not work with a child custody lawyer Tampa FL residents rely on, your spouse’s lawyer may take advantage of you and offer you lower child support payments. A lawyer can ensure that your spouse is accountable for paying his or her fair share of your child’s expenses.
  • Reduced Stress: Going through a divorce and a child custody battle is stressful enough. If you have to do everything yourself, it may only get more overwhelming. If you hire a Tampa child custody lawyer, he or she can take care of the legwork so that you can sit down and relax.
  • Faster Process: It is normal to want to get a child custody battle over with as quickly as possible. That is why it can be important to have an experienced lawyer on your side. He or she has probably handled similar cases and thus knows how to settle child custody cases as quickly as possible.

The McKinney Law Group, Tampa Custody Lawyer

1105 W Swann Ave #100, Tampa, FL 33606

Contact The McKinney Law Group Today

When it comes to child custody, having the right legal representation can make all the difference. At The McKinney Law Group, we are here to provide you with the expert guidance and support you need to navigate these complex issues. We encourage you to reach out to us today to discuss your situation and explore how we can assist you. Together, we can work towards securing the best possible outcome for both you and your child. Don’t hesitate—contact us now and let us help you move forward with confidence.

Child Custody Legal Resources:

Child Custody Considerations

Can My Ex Move and Take our Child?

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