Protecting Your Children's Best Interests

Divorce or separation is stressful enough, but when children are involved, it becomes even more difficult. Finding the right attorney, knowing your rights and learning what to expect are important to easing this transition for yourself and your children.

With more than 30 years of experience, the lawyers at Melisa L. Militello, P.A., are prepared to help you and your family through this trying time. Our newest associate, Melissa Pendergrass, is well-versed in Florida family laws and ready to help you understand your rights, analyze your options and seek positive outcomes.

Walking You Through The Custody Process

In Florida, parents must generally attempt mediation first to resolve child custody and support issues. This more cooperative process seeks to help parents avoid a lengthy and potentially caustic courtroom battle, which can be traumatic to children.

While mediation is led by a certified mediator who is bound by several rules to remain unbiased, it is in your best interest to have representation present. Our firm is fully prepared to help you navigate the process and support your interests during these negotiations.

If the case must go to court, we will continue to diligently pursue resolutions that protect your rights and the best interests of your children.

How Custody Is Determined

Whether or not you are married, Florida judges typically favor joint custody to give the children equal time with both parents. That said, the court's governing principle is always to establish situations that protect the best interests of the children. There are several factors considered in the court's determination including:

  • The willingness of both parents to support the other parent's relationship with the child
  • Parental ability to put the needs of the child ahead of his/her own
  • Mental, physical and emotional stability of both parents
  • The stability of each home
  • If there is a history of domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment or child neglect by either parent

Is Child Support Negotiable?

Child support is another major concern for divorcing parents. Like many states, Florida has statutory guidelines in place to help parents determine what their obligation will be. This makes it less ambiguous, but also more difficult to negotiate.

We can advise you on what to expect and what options you have to modify the guidelines based on your circumstances. Some of the considerations used to determine child support payments are:

  • The income of each parent
  • Other resources available to the parents
  • The amount of time each of the parents spends with the children
  • Any special needs or costs the children may have

We Are Ready To Help

It is important to retain a lawyer who makes you feel comfortable, supported and confident as you navigate the child custody process. Contact us online or call our office in Inverness today at 352-419-0364 to schedule a consultation.