Children Come First for our Fort Lauderdale Family Lawyers
Compassionate support throughout your family law issue
At Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC, we know that a parent’s first instinct is always to protect his or her children from harm, pain and discord. However, when the family unit breaks down, this can often seem impossible. Parents may feel overwhelming guilt and that they are failing to protect their children. At Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC, we understand the emotional conflicts you feel, and we promise to always put your children’s best interests first. Our firm offers compassionate legal advice to help you and your children through this difficult period.
Preserving your relationship with your children by preventing parental alienation and providing supportive therapy
The emotional divorce process can cause a parent to say, imply or do things, intentionally or not intentionally, that damage the child’s relationship with the other parent. Some signs that your child has been conditioned against you can include:
- Your child’s sudden refusal to visit you
- Your child’s unexplained fear of you, despite a lack of incident
- Your child rejection of you and lack of feelings of empathy toward you
- You child’s inability to communicate or express feelings or fears to you
If you notice some of these signs, your child may be suffering from Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). PAS is a serious mental health issue that likely requires therapy and support to overcome. Florida family courts take PAS seriously. An experienced family lawyer can advocate for your parental rights and the best interests of your child and request:
- A modified time-sharing or visitation agreement to facilitate parent/child interaction
- A contempt order if your time-sharing agreement is being withheld or violated
- Appointment of a psychologist to identify the parental abuse, stop it from continuing and repair any damage that has already been done
Our attorney serves as a parental coordinator to improve family relations and suggest parenting classes
Florida is the most recent of ten states that makes use of parental coordinators (PC) to manage particularly contentious visitation and custody cases. PCs are licensed mental health professionals, pastoral counselors or licensed attorneys. A PC is required to be in regular contact with each parent. The PC essentially has broad authority to take action that would be in the child’s best interests and can include:
- Limiting the daily routine or activities of the parent
- Preventing parents from discussing a topics, such as child support, around their children
- Deciding how, where, when and if certain friends and relations of the parents can see the children
- Reporting suspected abuse to Child Protective Services (CPS)
- Taking complaints from either parent
- Making minor clarifications to the visitation schedule
A PC and counseling service can help facilitate relations in the family and be of great benefit to your children. As a PC, our attorneys at Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC can help you do what is best for your children.
Encouraging Cooperation between Parents Whenever Possible
One of the most important ways to take care of the well-being of your children in divorce is to avoid conflict in front of them whenever possible. In order to do so, you and the other parent should try to cooperate and avoid conflict in general. Contentious divorces that involve disagreements and arguments at every turn often result in parents who cannot or will not work together for the sake of their child. They may argue over even the slightest matters including their child’s education, schedule, activities, and more. For this reason, it is often best to try to limit contention as much as possible from the very start of the divorce process.
While our office is capable of handling adversarial divorces, we also know how to explore options that facilitate compromise and cooperation to preserve a civil relationship between parents whenever possible. Options such as divorce mediation and collaborative divorce can help parents work together and reach mutually agreeable solutions regarding their children and other issues in divorce so they have less animosity toward one another. By remaining civil during divorce, parents are often more likely to work together and cooperate in parenting matters in the future.
Helping to Develop Positive and Clear Parenting Plans
In any Florida divorce involving children, the court will require that parents develop a parenting plan that addressing numerous issues related to parenting that may arise in the months and years following a divorce. Parenting plans can address issues including:
- Visitation schedules;
- Sports and extracurricular activities of the child;
- Educational decisions regarding the child;
- How parents will divide up holidays and summers;
- How parents will handle vacations;
- Healthcare decisions for the child;
- Any other relevant large and small decisions for the child;
- How disputes will be settled.
While a parenting plan cannot anticipate every issue that may arise, it can be a powerful tool to help parents share parenting responsibilities and work together when parenting their children. This often results in a stronger relationship between the child and both parents, as well as the emotional well-being of the child.
Using the Courts when a Parent is Engaging in Unhealthy Behaviors
As a divorced parent, you do not have constant knowledge and control over the other parent’s behaviors and actions involving your child. However, by keeping an open line of communication and sense of trust between you and your child, you can encourage them to tell you if the other parent is acting in an unhealthy or unsafe manner. Substance abuse, emotional abuse, mental instability, and associating with others who have these issues are only some ways that a parent can put a child’s well-being in jeopardy.
If you believe that your child’s other parent is not acting in a way that is safe or healthy for your child, you should discuss the situation with an experienced lawyer who understands how to make sure the children come first. We have methods of asking the courts to address these situations by adjusting custody, visitation, or parenting plans, among other ways.
Contact us today to put your children first
At Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC, children are always our most important focus. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, our office is close to Broward Hospital and three blocks from the county courthouse, north of Davie Boulevard in downtown Fort Lauderdale. To schedule a free initial consoltation, call us today at 954.817.0402 or contact us online. We are available from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and accept Saturday appointments by request.