Child Custody

Highly Rated Naples Child Custody Lawyers

Experienced Legal Custody Representation in Lee & Collier Counties

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Nothing is more important than family. This is why Family First Legal Group is committed to fighting aggressively to protect you and your children. Our Naples family law attorneys know that this is an extremely difficult time for your family. Navigating divorce and child custody matters can be an emotionally draining process.

Our qualified family law attorneys and legal assistants in Naples and Cape Coral, FL, are here to make your situation as painless as possible.


Interested in finding out more about our services and how we can help you? Contact us online or at (239) 319-4441 for a  phone consultation. With offices in Naples and Cape Coral, we serve clients in Collier County and Lee County.

How Is Child Custody Determined in Florida?

In accordance with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, Florida courts determine child custody based on the best interests of the child. Child custody refers to the care, control, and maintenance of a minor. Under Florida law, there are two types of custody arrangements.

Child custody is divided into legal custody and physical custody:

  • Legal custody refers to the responsibility of making all decisions regarding the child
  • Physical custody refers to where the child will live. Depending on what is best for the child, these two types of custody are further divided into either joint or sole custody.
  • Joint legal custody means that both parents may have a say in the child's upbringing, particularly in reference to education, healthcare, and religion.
  • Sole legal custody is awarded to one parent, they are the sole decision-makers in the child's life.
  • Joint physical custody means that the child spends time living with both parents in turn
  • Sole physical custody has the child living with one parent, often establishing a visitation schedule with the other.

What Do Judges Look for in Child Custody Cases?

When determining the best interest of a child, the judge in FL will often consider the following factors:

  • The physical and mental health of both parents
  • Any special needs the child may have
  • The ability of each parent to provide a stable environment
  • Any other children who may pertain to the custody case
  • Evidence of domestic abuse
  • Evidence of drug or alcohol abuse

Can a Father Get Custody of His Child in Florida?

Although it’s rare for either parent to get sole custody in Florida, it is still possible. For a father to get full custody, he must prove that giving parental responsibility to the mother wouldn’t be in the child’s best interests.

Can a Mother Keep the Child Away From the Father in Florida?

All mothers instantly get parental rights to their children at birth in FL. A DNA paternity test grants a father custody and visitation rights. However, custody laws in Florida for unmarried parents state that both parents share equal custody rights.

How to File for Temporary Custody in Florida

Filing for temporary custody in Florida involves a series of legal steps to ensure the safety and well-being of a child on a short-term basis. Here is a general guide on how to file for temporary custody:

  • Understand Eligibility and Requirements: To file for temporary custody, you typically need to be a relative or a concerned party with a legitimate interest in the child's welfare. Understanding the eligibility and requirements is crucial.
  • Gather Necessary Documentation: Collect relevant documents such as the child's birth certificate, any previous custody orders, and any evidence or documents supporting your claim for temporary custody.
  • File the Petition: Draft a petition for temporary custody, outlining the reasons why temporary custody is necessary and in the child's best interest. You can obtain the necessary forms from the family court or online.
  • Submit to the Court: File the completed petition with the clerk of the family court in the county where the child resides. Ensure you pay the filing fee, unless you qualify for a fee waiver based on your financial situation.
  • Serve Notice: Serve notice of the petition and hearing date to all relevant parties, including the child's parents. Proper service is crucial to ensure due process.
  • Attend the Hearing: Attend the scheduled hearing and present your case to the judge. Be prepared to provide evidence and testimony supporting your request for temporary custody.
  • Court Decision: The judge will make a decision based on the presented evidence and what is in the best interest of the child. If granted, temporary custody will be awarded, specifying its duration and conditions.

Consulting with a Naples child custody attorney in Florida is highly recommended when seeking temporary custody to ensure all legal requirements are met and your case is presented effectively in court.

Determining Parenting Plans in Florida

When a couple cannot reach an agreement about a parenting plan, this issue will be decided by the court. The family court will make its decision based on a variety of factors, which are used to determine the child’s best interest.

The factors the court will consider include:

  • The moral fitness of the parents
  • The physical and mental health of the parents
  • The history of each parent’s willingness and ability to act on the needs of the child
  • The preference of the child
  • The evidence of any domestic violence or child abuse, abandonment, or neglect
  • The home, school, and community record of the child
  • The involvement of each parent in their child’s life

To evaluate the moral fitness of a parent, the courts will look at how well the parent can contribute to the child's well-being and the parent's influence on the child's moral or ethical growth. For example, a parent who has had trouble with the law, a history of drug abuse, or has been violent towards the child exhibits behaviors that can impair the child's moral and ethical development.

Looking Out for Your Family’s Best Interests in Naples and Cape Coral

Our Naples child custody lawyers at First Family Legal Group want to help you achieve what is best for you and your family. We are able to draw from our extensive family law experience and knowledge to protect your best interests throughout the child custody process.

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