RD- an actual child support client
"My case was handled quickly and with ease."
RD- an actual child support client
"My case was handled quickly and with ease."
“Prospective clients may not obtain the same or similar results.”

Child Custody


Gainesville Child Custody Attorney

With more than a decade of experience, Gainesville Child Custody Attorney Karen S. Yochim understands the care and tact required to properly handle child custody cases. While preserving a party’s legal rights is certainly an essential component, the most vital aspect of child custody matters is ensuring the protection of the child’s best interests. Clients concerned with safeguarding their children deserve sound legal advice during the emotionally trying experience of resolving issues concerning parental responsibility and residential care.

The Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. recognizes that providing superior representation requires not only legal knowledge and proficiency, but also an aggressive, yet compassionate approach, which must begin with a thorough and attentive consideration of each client’s unique situation. As you view the following, take note of the links provided to more detailed information on individual topic areas.

What is a child custody proceeding?

For many, the term ‘child custody,’ invokes an immediate thought of two parents seeking to establish their rights to a child, as part of a divorce proceeding. While many custody cases do involve a simultaneous divorce, disputes also commonly arise between parties who, though never married to one another, need assistance in defining, establishing, or modifying custodial terms. As such, a proceeding involving child custody, in the legal context, can encompass a wide array of issues relating to parenting, time sharing, or other matters concerning entitlement or access to a minor child. Further, it is necessary to consider the application of both Florida-specific law, as well as the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). Pursuant to the UCCJEA, which was enacted in 1997, and adopted by our state in 2002, Florida Statute §61.503(4) defines a child custody proceeding as:

“…a proceeding in which legal custody, physical custody, residential care, or visitation with respect to a child is an issue. The term includes a proceeding for divorce, separation, neglect, abuse, dependency, guardianship, paternity, termination of parental rights, and protection from domestic violence, in which the issue may appear. The term does not include a proceeding involving juvenile delinquency, contractual emancipation, or enforcement under ss. 61.524-61.540.”

What is the difference between physical and legal custody?

Clients often inquire about the different classifications of child custody. It is vital to understand the difference between physical and legal custody. Legal custody refers to the parental right to make decisions pertaining to the education, religion, health care and general well-being of the child. Physical custody refers to when a parent is actually with the child, and therefore is responsible for their care and well-being during that particular period. Whereas one parent may be awarded physical custody at any particular time, frequently both parents will share legal custody.

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What are the types of custody?

In providing a response to this question, it is first necessary to understand that there are numerous potential combinations of physical and legal custody. Consider the following scenarios:

  • Parent has no right to make decisions about the child (no legal custody), however parent has access to or time-sharing with the child (physical custody)
  • Parent has right to make decisions about the child (legal custody), however parent is permitted only supervised visitation (limited physical custody)
  • Parent has right to make decision about the child (legal custody) AND is permitted time-sharing with child (physical custody)

The list above includes just a few of the possible scenarios. Further complicating matters, some orders may be temporary; custody may be split when there is more than one children; time-sharing may require supervision; and circumstances can often change.

How are child custody matters assessed by the court?

The most important thing to remember is what would be best for the child. CLICK HERE to view criterion for the best interest of the child. Determining a child’s best interest requires that the court evaluate all factors affecting the child’s welfare. While many of the factors that must be taken into consideration are explicitly stated within the list of criterion, some are set forth under separate statutory provision, and others are more implicit in nature.

Just a few of the issues that can play a role in a custody determination, include:

What are some other issues, concerns, aspects, or special scenarios in child custody matters?

Every family has their own unique set of circumstances, and therefore, the dynamics associated with one custody case, can vary greatly in comparison to another. Parents should consider not only current issues, but also potential future issues, when selecting a child custody attorney. It is far more beneficial to have a legal advocate on your side that has the experience necessary to effectively and efficiently address all custody matters, as opposed to compromising your parental rights or having to revisit issues in the future.