The divorce rate in Florida has been decreasing for the past ten years. Unfortunately, many Floridians are still filing for divorce or separating each year. Besides separating assets, there is another important aspect of separation for those with children – child custody.
Unfortunately, you must go to court if you cannot agree on custody with your child’s other parent. Having an experienced family law attorney representing your interests is invaluable in this situation.
However, not all child custody lawyers are created equal. When it is time to hire this legal professional, keep the information here in mind.
Look for A Lawyer Who Focuses on What Is Best for the Children
If your divorce and separation were challenging and emotional for you, your kids likely had it worse. Some studies have shown that children from divorced parents have lower scores on well-being, ability to adjust, and achievement.
Research has also shown that children from divorced homes have more behavioral issues, lower self-esteem, and find it more difficult to establish social relationships.
It is possible to prevent or reduce the likelihood of these issues by considering what is in the child’s best interest. Today, there are laws in place that protect a child’s welfare during a divorce. In Florida, one of these laws is that both parents complete a parenting class, for example.
Laws like this aim to ensure that children from divorced households remain mentally healthy, secure, and happy.
When establishing child custody, your focus should be what is best for your children – this should also be your attorney’s focus. If the lawyer you have investigated does not seem concerned about your children’s welfare or what is best for them, you should look elsewhere for legal services.
Consider the Lawyer’s Education and Past Experience
Before choosing an attorney, you need to ensure the one you are considering is licensed in the state where you are located. They should also have an undergraduate and law degree and have passed the bar in the state.
It is wise to ask the lawyer if there are any sanctions against them or if they have had issues with the state bar. While some issues may be overlooked, hiring a lawyer in good standing is always best.
Asking about continuing education is also smart. Find out how the attorney keeps up with the developments in the legislation.
Besides education, you need to consider experience. For example, has the lawyer handled child custody cases in the past? Are they general family lawyers, or do they offer several family law services? What is their success rate with these cases?
If you cannot find information about the attorney’s education and experience on their website, it is best to ask them during a call or consultation.
You need an attorney who understands the child custody laws in Florida and how they will apply to your situation.
Find a Lawyer Who Keeps the Situation Professional
Even if your marriage was not perfect, the lawyers you go to for help were not part of it. They should never badmouth your ex-spouse, regardless of how bad things are between you. When you go to a lawyer for child custody representation, you are likely already experiencing emotional distress. If someone outside of the situation begins talking bad about your ex, this could add more stress and anxiety to the situation.
Sometimes, you will find lawyers who will tell you that sole custody is the best option without even looking at your case or situation. If this happens, it is another sign they are not focused on what is best for your children (which is an important aspect of these cases).
A good child custody lawyer will tell you that joint custody is the best option in most situations (with some exceptions). Fighting for sole custody in Florida is not something that is often successful unless there is evidence of neglect or abuse by one parent.
A Lawyer Who Works Locally and Knows the Child Custody Laws
When you are dealing with real estate transactions, you will hire a local real estate lawyer. The same applies to child custody matters. You need someone from your area. For example, the best child custody lawyers in Alabama will not be helpful when your situation is in Florida. Florida and Alabama laws regarding child custody are different, and if the attorney does not actively work in Florida, it is unlikely they know all the laws related to these cases.
Also, by hiring a local lawyer, communicating with them, scheduling meetings, and handling other matters will be easier.
I Can Help with Your Florida Child Custody Matter
I understand the emotional toll that a custody case can take on parents and children. At Griffin Family Law, PLLC, I am dedicated to making sure that your child’s best interests are the focus of the situation while helping you achieve a favorable outcome based on your goals.
Contact my office today if you need help with your child custody case. I will schedule a time to speak to you to learn about your needs and create a plan to help you with your legal matter.