Fort Lauderdale Child Custody Attorney

Child Custody Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale - Donald G. Criscuolo Child Custody Attorney

Your children are the most important and vulnerable members of your family. It is of the utmost importance that they be fully protected emotionally and financially during the divorce process. Mr. Criscuolo has a broad range of experience in handling child custody issues. He has been associated with the Guardian Ad Litem program of Broward County, and in 1999, was recognized for a decade of volunteer service. He is dedicated to preserving the stability of your child’s life and assisting in the transition from living in one household to living in two.

The term “custody” is no longer in use. As of October 1, 2009, the laws of Florida drastically changed regarding how the courts deal with parenting issues in a divorce. The law requires that the court develop a “Parenting Plan” which includes a schedule which allocates the time the children will spend with each parent. Additionally, the plan needs to include an outline of which parent will be responsible for the many parenting activities, including:

  • Daily tasks
  • Healthcare
  • School functions
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Communication with the children

In creating this Parenting Plan, the court is always guided by the best interests of the children and not by the needs and/or wants of the parent, which are sometimes selfishly driven. For example, sometimes a parent requests time with the children simply to deprive the other parent of that time. If the overnight time with the children equals 40% or more on an annual basis, child support is greatly reduced. This may be the reason for a request to have 40% or more of the time with the children. On the other hand, the law recognizes that both parents have equal rights to spend time with the children. Long ago, courts preferred to grant mothers custody of the children, especially when they were young. That presumption has been abolished. The court is required to consider a number of factors when deciding this issue, including:

  • Length of time the child has lived in a stable environment and the desire to maintain continuity;
  • Moral fitness, mental health and physical health of the parents;
  • The ability of each parent to maintain a stable routine for the child;
  • The presence of domestic violence;
  • The ability of each parent to meet the developmental needs of the child;
  • The likelihood of each parent to permit, and not interfere, with the contact and access rights of the other parent.

The Supreme Court of Florida has created a form Parenting Plan that you should review to begin the process of considering these issues. As you can see, it contains much detail in things that, perhaps, you would not have considered. Be aware that you are not limited by this form and are free to include any additional details or provisions that uniquely apply to your family.

There are many other facets and factors to consider when dealing with issues of this sort. If it is possible to resolve custody by agreement, it is likely the judge would approve the agreement, which avoids court over these issues. If such an agreement is not possible, Mr. Criscuolo will provide you with aggressive and zealous representation using the skills that he has acquired over the last twenty-eight years. He is an expert on this issue and all other areas of family law, being Board Certified in Marital & Family law by the Florida Bar since 1991. As of 2009, he is one of only 216 such lawyers to hold that credential throughout the state of Florida (there are approximately 87,000 lawyers in this state). Less than 1% of lawyers can claim the distinction of being Board Certified in Marital & Family Law.