Experienced Miami Lawyers Handle Time-Sharing and Visitation

Reliable representation in Florida to assert your rights and protect your children

As a parent, there’s nothing more important than your relationship with your children. Unfortunately, divorce complicates that relationship and even subjects many aspects of that relationship to the jurisdiction of the court. At Rafool, PLLC, our experienced family law attorneys understand your concerns. We focus our efforts on identifying and resolving all potential areas of conflict. We address the full range of your concerns, so you can be confident that the parenting plan you submit to the court will enable you to continue your loving relationship with your children and exercise a positive influence on them.

Protecting your custody rights under Florida’s time-sharing law

The way family law attorneys in Florida discuss parental rights is often confusing, because the state legislature discarded the terms “child custody” and “visitation” in 2008 in favor of the following phrases:

  • Parental responsibility — This is the authority to make major decisions affecting the child’s health and welfare. Parental responsibility replaces the old phrase “legal custody” and can be awarded to one parent (sole) or shared by both (joint).
  • Time-sharing — Instead of referring to “physical custody” or “residential custody,” the law refers to the schedule of residential and nonresident contact between a parent and a child as time-sharing.
  • Parenting time — The moments of nonresidential contact between parent and child are no longer called visitation, because a parent should not be thought of as a visitor. However, parenting time can also refer to the child’s time living in the parent’s home.

A parenting plan is the document the court approves and issues that outlines parental responsibilities and time-sharing.

Generally speaking, parents have the right to frequent, meaningful contact with their children, unless that contact is not in the child’s best interest. The court has the authority to restrict or deny parenting time if there is evidence of unfitness, such as:

  • Alcohol or substance abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Psychological abuse
  • Sexual abuse

A Father’s rights are equal to a mother’s rights under the law. So, a father who is capable of providing a suitable residence for a child cannot be denied time-sharing simply on the basis of gender.

At Rafool, PLLC, our family law attorneys help you create a parenting plan that suits your needs and those of your children. Settlements are often reached that protect our client’s parental rights, either through negotiations or mediation. However, if settlement is unattainable and we require court intervention, you can trust in our readiness and determination as we fight for the best possible outcome.

Determined lawyers resolve various time-sharing issues

The goals of creating a parenting plan are to set expectations, reduce tensions, and facilitate cooperation between the parents. A detailed and personalized parenting plan can give you great peace of mind and, importantly, keep you out of court. However, no parenting plan works if one of the parties refuses to comply. Conflicts often start small, with cancelled appointments for parenting time, and can develop into deliberate attempts at parental alienation.

Clients often come to us not long after a divorce with urgent questions:

  • Can I prevent my ex from moving away with our children?
  • What can I do when my ex won’t allow me to visit my children?
  • Who has the final say in a disagreement on an important issue?

Depending on the circumstances of your conflict, you may be able to petition the court for enforcement or modification of your parenting plan. Often, however, we are able to find a solution without having to try the issue in court.

Grandparents’ rights to visitation in Florida

Florida has retained use of the term “visitation” when referring to contact by nonparents, especially a child’s grandparents. Under Florida law, a grandparent has a very limited right to petition for court-ordered visitation with a minor child. A right only exists when:

  • Both parents are deceased, missing, and/or in a persistent vegetative state.
  • One parent is deceased, missing, or in a persistent vegetative state and the other parent has been convicted of a felony or a violent offense indicating a substantial threat of harm to child.

After a grandparent files a petition for visitation, the court holds a preliminary hearing to determine whether the petition makes a prima facie case for parental unfitness or significant harm to the child. This means the petitioning grandparent must allege facts which, if true, amount to unfit parenting and/or a threat to the child’s well-being.

If the grandparent fails to meet the requirements, the court can order the grandparent to pay the parent’s attorney fees. Our visitation dispute attorneys represent grandparents and parents in these types of proceedings.

Contact our Miami family law firm for reliable counsel on child custody issues

If you have concerns about your parenting plan, the experienced child custody attorneys at Rafool, PLLC, can help. For immediate assistance, call us at (305) 567-9400 or contact our Miami office online to schedule an initial consultation.