We are currently offering consultations and meetings by telephone or video. Please feel free to reach out for assistance.

Call Today for A Consultation

A small fee will be charged for the initial consultation.

About Us

Family Law


florida divorce laws
Custody Of My Kids
Husband and wife crate signing divorce documents at lawyer offic

Melbourne, FL Child Custody Attorneys

Always Acting in Your Child’s Best Interests


If you and your divorcing spouse have children, you must follow Florida’s child custody laws to determine how your child’s time will be split divided between you and your ex-spouse. Child custody laws also apply to unmarried parents who are no longer in a relationship.

Custody disputes can quickly become heated. Understandably, each parent usually wants to protect their rights and ensure they can maximize their time with their child. At the Figueroa Law Group, P.A., we recognize the impact that a custody decision can have on you, your family, and your relationship with your child. Our custody attorneys in Melbourne, FL are here to help you find a viable solution to the dispute at hand while protecting your rights as a parent.

Custody is now referred to as Time-Sharing in Florida

In 2008, the state of Florida replaced the custody and visitation laws with the concepts of shared parenting and sole parenting. Now, parents must either work together to create a parenting plan which is either an agreement between you and the child’s other parent or the Court can make that decision for both of you. In certain circumstances, the Court may order sole decision making for one of the parents. The parenting plan outlines when and where the child will spend his or her time with each parent.

Why do I need an Attorney in Melbourne, FL for Time Sharing?

There is a rebuttable presumption for equal time sharing unless a parent can show by a preponderance of evidence that equal that. Equal timesharing is not in the child’s best interest, the exception is when the parents enter an agreement into timesharing. While there are many family law attorneys in Melbourne, FL, you want an attorney who will put your children’s best interests first. While every case is different, it’s important to find an attorney with specific skills and experience working with family law cases dealing with children. These skills and experiences are critical to ensuring that you have the support you and your child both need during this difficult time.

Some of the things you should look for in an attorney for time sharing plans include:

  • Experience – You want someone who has experience handling timesharing schedules and parenting plans.  Not only could this make a difference when it comes to the final outcome of your case, but also when it comes to protecting the stability of your child or children and your rights throughout the process.
  • Flexibility – Family situations are often quite complex, so you need an attorney that can work with you to meet your unique needs and circumstances. Because every family is unique, flexibility is key.
  • Communication – Your attorneys should be available when you need them. If they’re not available, then how can they help you? Communication is critical at each step of the process and after your case is finished; communication will also help ensure your questions are answered correctly and thoroughly.  You can rest assured that at the Figueroa Law Group, P.A. we have a team of attorneys, paralegals, legal assistants and an administrative team that work together to help you through every aspect of your case.

At  Figueroa Law Group, P.A, we pride ourselves on being able to take on a wide variety of family law cases. As long as there is a doubt about the best resolution of a case, we will do everything we can to help you find that resolution. We have over 38 combined years of experience in divorce, child custody and support, paternity, and domestic violence cases.  Parents who hire attorneys like ours can be assured that they have someone looking out for their best interests and their child or children as well—someone who is experienced at navigating these kinds of situations as quickly as possible.

What is Child Custody?

Section 61.13 of the Florida Statutes states that in a divorce or child custody case in Florida, unless the parents can agree,  the judge will decide how time-sharing will be divided between the parents based on what is in the best interests for the children. Florida law does not determine which parent is awarded custody. Instead, the timesharing schedule and related issues including communication, transportation and other arrangements will be based on the evidence considering the factors in Section 61.13 of the Florida Statutes


Timesharing is developed in a parenting plan determined and details where and how the children will spend time with each parent overnight.  You and the other parent of your child or children may share timesharing, or, in limited circumstances,  only one of you may be awarded timesharing 

The law presumes that frequent and continuing contact with both parents is optimal for children. There is no presumption in favor of one parenting plan over another. Judges are guided by this presumption, unless there is a compelling reason not to, such as if one parent lives far away, is abusive, or has a history of being unreliable or unavailable for the children. Keep in mind that the kids’ needs come first at all times. Where the children live far away, the Judge can fashion a long distance parenting plan, unless, of course, you can agree with the other parent.

Parental Responsibility

Parental responsibility includes decisions regarding the children’s religious education, school and tutor selection, extracurricular activities, medical and mental health care, and more.

Parental responsibility may be shared, Judges typically order shared parental responsibility so both parents can confer and continue making significant decisions for their children. Shared parental responsibility is preferred unless there is a compelling reason to give sole parental responsibility to one parent and shared parental responsibility is detrimental to the minor child or children.

Details to include in a parenting plan include:

  • A specific timesharing plan that includes overnights and holidays and how much time the child or children will spend with each parent.
  • Shared parental responsibility or Sole Parental Responsibility if detrimental to the child or children, Ultimate Responsibility over specific aspects of the child or children’s welfare
  • How the parents will share and be responsible for the daily tasks for the child or children
  • Parental consent to mental health treatment for the minor child or children
  • School related matters including the address to be used for school-boundary determination and registration
  • Extra-curricular activities
  • Each parent’s contributions to daycare and after-school activity transportation
  • How each parent will communicate with the child or children as well as frequency and communication with each other.  Include the methods and technologies that the parents will use to communicate with their child or children.
  • Any other issues including but not limited to passports, travelling out of state and travelling out of the county

After you have reached an agreed parenting plan, the court must approve it and determine that it is in the best interests of the child or children. If you and the other parent of your child cannot come to an agreement, the court will create a plan for you, designing it with the child’s best interests in mind with consideration to the factors outlined in Section 61.13 of the Florida Statutes.

How Will a Florida Judge Determine Timesharing?

In Florida, the child’s best interests are always the primary consideration for a Judge. Judges anticipate that parents will prioritize their children’s needs over their own. A court will explore the degree to which each parent has demonstrated the understanding to show a willingness to meet a child’s developmental needs and to be actively involved in the child’s life.

In Florida, the court will consider the following factors in determining timesharing and a parenting plan: 

  • The child’s relationship with each parent.
  • The parent’s demonstrated ability to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship.
  • Honor the timesharing schedule.
  • The anticipated division of parental responsibilities after the litigation and the extent of responsibilities delegated to third parties.
  • The parents’ ability to act upon the needs of the child over their own needs.
  • Length of time the child has lived in a stable environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
  • The geographic viability of the parenting plan with attention paid to the needs of school-age children and the amount of time traveling to effectuate the parenting plan.
  • Moral fitness of the parents.
  • The mental and physical health of the parents, home, school, and community records of the child.
  • The preference of the child if the court deems the child is of sufficient age, intelligence, and understanding to express a preference.
  • Each parent’s ability to be informed of the circumstance of the minor child
  • The child’s friends, teachers, medical care, providers, daily activities, and favorite things.
  • The demonstrated ability of each parent to provide a consistent routine for the child such as discipline, daily schedules for homework, meals, and bedtime.
  • Evidence of domestic violence.
  • Whether either parent has provided false information to the court on the parenting tasks customarily performed by each parent and the division of parental responsibilities before the litigation.
  • The parents demonstrated the ability to participate and are involved in the child’s school and extracurricular activities.
  • The parent’s demonstrated ability to maintain an environment for the child free from substance abuse.
  • The ability of each parent to protect the child from the ongoing litigation.
  • The parent’s knowledge of the developmental stages and needs of the child.
  • The parent’s ability to meet those needs and any other factor relevant to determine a specific parenting plan, including the time-sharing schedule.

By taking these factors into consideration, the court can ensure that the divorce does not adversely affect the children involved

Modifications to Parenting Plans

If you are currently living under the terms of a parenting plan that no longer meets your needs or reflects your lifestyle, you may be able to request a modification through the court and be able to prove a substantial material and unanticipated determination that the modification is tin the best interest of the child.  Determination of the best interest of the child is made by evaluating all of the factors affecting the welfare and interest of the child and the circumstances of the family per Section 61.13 of the Florida Statutes.  Courts have broad discretion when granting modifications. The process involves proper analysis and preparation  of the case so working with a skilled Melbourne, FL, child custody attorney is in your best interest.

Contact the Figueroa Law Group, P.A.

Custody cases can be extremely time-consuming and emotional. With so much at stake, you deserve the support of our hardworking, compassionate team at the Figueroa Law Group, P.A. Since 1988, we have been helping families overcome the challenges of custody disputes. You can count on us to work diligently and professionally to achieve your goals. However, results cannot be guaranteed.

Facing Divorce or other family law matters? We can help!

A small fee will be charged for the initial consultation.

Call Us!



Please note that a small fee will be charged for the initial consultation.

Please note that a small fee will be charged for the initial consultation.

Call our office to make a payment