5 Common Mistakes to Avoid During Child Custody Litigation

Picture of parent with daughterThere are few things more emotional and heart-wrenching than a child custody dispute. These arguments encompass schooling, parenting choices, schedules, criminal histories, and character flaws. The process is personal, heavy-hitting, and exhausting. Few walk away unscathed.

To help you navigate this process with relative ease, avoid these common child custody mistakes:

Getting Arrested Can Affect Child Custody and Timesharing

Perhaps the worst thing you can do during a difficult child custody battle is find yourself wrapped in handcuffs. Your spouse can — and will — use this low moment as a reason you should not have custody of your child. This is true even if the crime was not violent and you have no criminal history. read more

The Best Time-Sharing Arrangement for Your Family

Child custody lawyerFormerly referred to as child custody arrangements, time-sharing arrangements detail the amount of time a minor child spends with each parent following a divorce. There are many different ways a time-sharing arrangement can be structured, and there is no single “right way” to approach such a sensitive topic. Time-sharing arrangements should take into consideration the age of the children, the needs of the children, and the goals of the family.

Florida’s policy is that children should have a relationship with each parent, and unless there’s abuse or certain other factors, this is generally a good rule of thumb.  A time-sharing schedule that reflects this policy makes sense for most families.  A time-sharing schedule designed to punish one parent also punishes the children in the end, which is why it’s best to avoid this whenever possible. read more

Child Relocation: What You Need to Know Before You Move

Child RelocationIn Florida, if a parent moves 50 miles or more from the residence they occupied when the last time-sharing schedule was filed with the court, this is considered a relocation.  If you have a minor child and are considering relocating after a divorce, there are a few things you need to know.

First and foremost, your parenting time agreement may require modification due to the move. If you move first, without filing the appropriate paperwork with the court and, if necessary, having a hearing on the issue, you could be subject to contempt proceedings.  Additionally, a move without court approval could result in a proceeding to compel the return of your child. read more

Child Custody / Time-Sharing and Summer Break

Time-Sharing and Summer BreakSummer is right around the corner. For those who have children, this can mean a change in routine.  It is not too soon to start preparing for this change.  You may have different daycare arrangements.  There may be vacations planned.  Perhaps you are interested in sending the kids to camp.  Whatever your summer holds, we at Eric C. Cheshire, P.A. believe taking the steps outlined below ensure you will have fewer conflicts with your former spouse as the summer months arrive.

Consult Your Divorce Decree

As a first step, consult your divorce decree.  It is likely the issue of child custody/parental responsibility or time-sharing during the summer months has already been addressed.  Just because you don’t presently recall such an agreement does not mean your attorney overlooked it.  What to do with the children in the summer months is a common enough issue that is unlikely to have been omitted. read more

Divorce: What Do We Tell the Children?

 Children and Divorce LawyersIn an astonishing study, 75 % of the study participants reported spending 10 minutes or less telling their children about divorce and the changes that will occur as a result of the divorce. Obviously, this does not reflect an adequate amount of time discussing enormous life changes as a family. Parents are naturally averse to discussing divorce with their children, after having spent weeks, months, or even years discussing the divorce among themselves. However, without providing children with sufficient information and a solid foundation, they often end up feeling lost and alone as the divorce progresses – sometimes for years to come. read more

Parental Alienation Basics: What You Need to Know

Parental Alienation“Parental Alienation” refers to a condition where a child strongly allies himself or herself with one parent, while simultaneously rejecting the other parent, without legitimate justification for doing so.  Often, parental alienation is encouraged by the “favored” parent to reject the “targeted” parent.  Children avoid conflict by complying with the alienating parent’s plan.  Not surprisingly, parental alienation causes incredible pain and hardship to thousands of families each year. read more

Can My Child Decide Custody (Parental Responsibility) and Time-sharing Schedules?

Child Custody Lawyer

The short answer to the question, “Can my child decide custody? Is “no”. Florida Legislature updated the term “custody” with the term “parental responsibility”, and the term “visitation” has been updated with the term “time-sharing”. With that said, the court may consider the wishes of the child, along with a host of other issues, when determining the parental responsibility and time-sharing schedule for you and your child.

Child Custody Lawyer

Parental responsibility and time-sharing determinations occur in a number of different ways.  Many divorcing couples agree to a Parenting Plan, which includes parental responsibility and time-sharing issues.  Some parents agree to a Parenting Plan early in the process.  Other couples may reach an agreement after working with their family law attorneys for the time that it takes to reach an agreement.   However, in some instances, the couple cannot reach an agreement on parenting issues.  In those situations, the Court will decide the parental responsibility and time-sharing schedules for parent and child, based on what is in the best interest of the child. read more

How Grandparents Can Gain Child Custody

Child Custody

The Ultimate Guide For Grandparents Who Want Child Custody

Child custody issues often occur between divorcing parents, but there are some instances in which other family members may want to get involved in this issue.Child Custody

For example, grandparents can seek custody of their grandchildren if the parents of the child are unable to properly care for a child, or if the parents agree to relinquish their custody rights.

Let’s take a look at the types of custody arrangements that are available to grandparents in Florida.

Child Custody Options For Grandparents 

Florida law allows grandparents to seek custody based on whether the child is classified as dependent or non-dependent. read more

What To Know About Moving Out of State and Child Custody

Child Custody

What happens when a divorced parent wants to move out of state with their child? Obviously, if the other parent agrees, the process is fairly straightforward in terms of explaining to a family court why the move is being made.

There are, however, situations in which a parent wants to move out of state, but the other parent does not agree with the move for one reason or another.

But before diving deeper into this issue, it’s important to remember the distinction between a parent taking a child out of state on a brief trip, and child relocation, which is a permanent move. read more

Issues You Can Encounter as A New Stepparent


Divorces can result from many kinds of conflicts, including challenges that arise between a stepparent and stepchildren in blended families.

Although every situation is different, there are some common problems that occur in these types of relationships, and understanding these problems can help stepparents modify their behavior, and create a more positive environment.

Child Feels Stepparent Treats Biological Children Differently 

In situations in which you have your own biological children, one of the most common challenges you may have is trying to make sure that you give your stepchild the same care, attention and discipline that you give to your biological child. read more