Parental rights are a complicated subject, and there are often misconceptions about the legal process for establishing, modifying, or terminating them. Having been board-certified in marital and family law for over two decades, Fort Lauderdale child custody lawyer Alan Jay Braverman has assisted many Florida residents with establishing and protecting their parental rights. There are various ways to go about this process, and he can assist you with determining which method may be appropriate in your situation. With offices in Boynton Beach and Fort Lauderdale, Attorney Braverman can provide you with responsive and dedicated legal counsel in matters affecting custody, paternity, and support.Understand Your Right to Timesharing (Custody)
One of the questions that people often ask in a divorce is how they can stay in their child’s life as much as possible after the divorce. There is no set formula by which Florida courts determine a timesharing arrangement. Instead, a court has discretion to consider a broad set of issues that are designed to promote the child’s well-being and avert any potential negative outcomes that may arise from contact between a parent and the child.
There are two main areas that the court will address. One of them involves the amount of time that a parent is entitled to spend with their child. This will account for weekends, holidays, birthdays, school vacations, and any other special occasions during the year. The second area involves decision-making power over issues like the child’s medical care, education, and religious upbringing. The court can award both of these rights to one spouse, split them between the spouses, or otherwise apportion them as it sees fit.Modifying Parental Rights in Florida
After an award regarding parental rights has been entered, a parent sometimes wants to seek a modification or termination of these rights. (This is different from an appeal of the initial order.) As a child grows and their needs change, it may be necessary to adjust the parents’ respective parental rights. If the parties are in agreement on the modification that needs to be made, they can enter into a written agreement that the court can then approve. If the spouses do not agree to the modification, the requesting spouse must initiate a court proceeding to obtain an order.
The court will then conduct a hearing to hear both sides of the issue before making a determination about whether a modification is appropriate and, if so, what the modification will provide. When making this decision, the court will consider information indicating what the best interests of the child would be. This evaluation includes issues such as stability, mental well-being, family ties, and fostering relationships with both parents when possible.Termination of Parental Rights Through Dependency Proceedings
In some situations, either the state or a private party can initiate a dependency proceeding when a child is in danger of imminent harm. The dependency court has the authority to take the child out of the home and craft a case plan that the parent or parents need to follow to retain their rights to the child. If they fail to meet the requirements of the plan, the court can move forward with terminating their rights. Termination can occur when a parent voluntarily surrenders their rights, or when a parent has abandoned the child, which involves making no good-faith effort to create and maintain a positive relationship with the child and failing to contribute substantially to the child’s needs. Also, if a parent threatens the child’s well-being or is sentenced to prison, their parental rights can be terminated through dependency proceedings.Meet with an Experienced Child Custody Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale
Navigating issues affecting your parental rights can be confusing, especially if you are experiencing emotional stress about the future of your relationship with your child. With over 40 years of experience practicing law in South Florida, Alan Jay Braverman understands exactly what you are going through. He assists people in cities such as Fort Lauderdale, Boynton Beach, Hollywood, Pembroke Pines, Tamarac, Weston, Plantation, Pompano Beach, Hallandale Beach, Davie, and Coconut Creek. To schedule a consultation regarding a child custody or dependency matter, call us now at (954) 524-0505 or contact us online.