Negotiating Child Custody

When parents of children divorce, our family law group in Tampa, FL, will share that not only does this impact couples contending with the end of their relationship, it also has a significant impact on the couple’s children. Children may feel incredibly overwhelmed with this new change, as they will be the ones with the most significant adjustment to make. With their parents no longer together, they will have to share their time and no longer have one home, but two. This can result in an added layer of challenges for parents, who will be in the process of negotiating the terms of a life once shared. One of the most important agreements that will be made is over custody of the children involved. A professional from The McKinney Law Group can play an essential role in negotiating the key arrangements that must be made when there are children involved.  


Negotiating Child Custody

Child custody determines the relationship that parents will have with their children. There are several elements to child custody that will need to be discussed. Parents will need to determine how children will be physically taken care of and how legal decisions over the children’s care will be made. It should come as no surprise that when two people are left to develop these agreements, the process can be emotionally fueled and often challenging to get through. However, our Tampa, Florida family law group stresses that parents must put their children’s needs at the forefront to ensure that they continue to have their basic needs met and that their emotional health remains intact. When parents work together to create plans for how children will be cared for, they have the opportunity to make a customized agreement that works for all. It’s essential to keep in mind that when parents cannot agree together, the process can be more litigious, and the court may need to step in and make decisions in the child’s best interests. 


Understanding Common Custody Arrangements

Parents should be aware of two types of custody: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody is a component that outlines how much time children will spend with each parent. It’s not uncommon for children to spend much of their time with one parent while the other has visitation rights. However, sometimes, parents may decide to share physical custody of the child 50/50. No matter what parents choose, it’s critical that these agreements are detailed, precise, and put in writing. In addition to physical custody, there is legal custody. Legal custody is the ability for a parent to make decisions over the child’s care, such as medical care, educational care, and dental care. In most situations, parents often share legal custody, but it’s important to note that this may not be possible at times, and one parent may choose to seek sole legal custody of their children.


Modification of Agreements

It may be necessary to modify the child custody arrangement that was once made at times. There could be a change in circumstances that requires this to happen. Should this be the case, parents should reach out to the court to request a modification. Common situations that may indicate the need to modify, include:

  • The child is spending most of their time with one parent
  • The current arrangement is not being followed
  • The current setup is not working
  • One parent is moving some distance away
  • The child is in danger

Parents must communicate with one another over possible changes to initiate this process. At times it may be possible for parents to reach an agreement on their own. However, it may be necessary to contact a lawyer for help in some situations. With professional guidance, parents can be assured that the process is properly followed and agreements are made through negotiation. 

For more information about The McKinney Law Group, a family law group Tampa, FL families turn to for help, schedule an appointment with our team.