Child Custody/Parenting Plans

Palm Beach Gardens Attorney Experienced in Divorce Matters

Sometimes determining who gets custody of your children can be a contentious battle in a divorce. Disputes over custody often get emotional when former couples try to maintain the lifestyle they enjoyed previously. I am William Wallshein, a Palm Beach Gardens divorce lawyer with more than three decades of experience. After serving for five years in the state prosecutor’s office, I have dedicated my family law career to helping parents establish child custody arrangements that fit their lifestyles, and most importantly, their child’s lifestyle. I make sure my clients have the information they need and the legal representation they deserve to pursue child custody actions.

Developing Parenting Plans in South Florida

Courts in Florida rely on the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act to decide child custody issues that are in the best interest of the child. These laws set national guidelines for determining child custody cases. Courts in Florida establish both physical and legal custody. Physical custody refers to the actual place where the child will reside, while legal custody decides which parent is allowed to make important decisions for their child pertaining to medical care, education, discipline, and religion.

Parents may either have shared or sole custody of their children. Florida courts strongly prefer shared custody arrangements, formed as part of a time-sharing agreement, but they will award one parent sole custody when circumstances indicate that is what would be in the best interest of the child.

Parents in Florida can make their own agreements regarding parental responsibilities, known as parenting plans. These plans include time-sharing schedules that set out when each child will reside with either parent, including arrangements regarding weekends, holidays, and school vacations. Parenting plans also establish who has the primary decision-making power. Once parenting plans are executed, they are submitted to the family court for approval, which will determine its adequacy in addressing a child’s best interest for physical and legal custody.

Determining What is in the Child’s Best Interest

Sometimes parents fail to agree on parenting plans, especially when it comes to what custody arrangements should be made. In these cases, the court must decide whether shared or sole custody is appropriate. The court makes such determinations based on the best interests of the children and related factors, including:

  • How long the children have lived in a stable environment
  • Where both parents’ homes are located in relation to each other
  • The parents’ moral fitness
  • Each parent’s physical and mental health
  • Parents’ ability to provide a consistent routine
  • Parents’ ability to communicate with each other
  • Evidence of domestic violence or abuse
  • Evidence of either parent’s substance abuse

If a child is old enough, the court will also consider his or her preference and wishes in making its custody determination. Child custody cases are often complex, and if parents are unable to come to an agreement on their own, a court’s involvement can be a lengthy process. If you are unable to negotiate with your former partner, it’s important to consult a knowledgeable attorney who can help you get on the same page and figure out what’s best for your children.

Legal Representation in West Palm Beach Custody Matters

If you and your child’s other parent are going through a divorce or trying to split time with your children, I can guide you through the process of settling child custody matters. My name is William Wallshein, and I am a West Palm Beach divorce attorney with 30 years of experience. I have assisted parents in and out of court in establishing custody agreements that are in the best interest of both parties, as well as the children involved. I represent clients throughout Martin, Palm Beach, and Broward Counties, in addition to the rest of South Florida. Please call my office at 561-533-1221 to schedule a free initial consultation, or contact me online. We accept payment by credit card.