mother and father playing with their child

Family Law

Lakeland Family Law Attorney

No one gets married or has a child expecting to break up the family one day. No one gets married and dreams of their divorce. No one looks forward to one day possibly wondering if the child they’ve raised as their own is truly theirs. Yet, these circumstances devastate people across Florida every single day. You can’t control the course of your marriage, your relationship with a co-parent, or how a co-parent handles negotiations—but you can protect your rights and your best interests with the help of one of the top family lawyers in Lakeland. Get the help you deserve by contacting Darla K. Snead, P.L. Accepting cases in Polk, Hardee, Highlands, and Hillsborough Counties.

How Darla K. Snead Can Help

Family law issues are completely different from the issues that arise in other areas of the law. Few other areas of the law involve the careful navigation of familial relationships and explosive emotions like family law does. Going in with an attorney who takes a scorched earth approach to every negotiation session often means completely destroying any chance at a productive co-parenting relationship while choosing an attorney whose only goal is to avoid conflict often leads to an unnecessary loss of assets and parenting time.

You need a top divorce lawyer in Lakeland who understands the delicate balance required to preserve a co-parenting relationship without giving up your rights as a parent. That is where Darla K. Snead comes in. When working with a family law client, she starts by listening. She wants to know what your goals are with your case, what type of co-parenting relationship you hope to have once legal matters have been settled, and what financial compromises you are and aren’t willing to make to secure the co-parenting relationship you want. Ms. Snead knows that divorce is often the most traumatizing event that people go through in their life, and her intention is to ease your stress during this time while still helping you get the parenting time and assets you rightfully deserve. She won’t be out for blood just for the sake of it, nor will she make needless concessions to your ex-partner to keep them comfortable. Her priority is what is best for you and your children, and she will do what it takes to protect your future and give you the resources you need for a fresh start.

If you’re facing child custody struggles, changes in child support, or facing paternity questions, Ms. Snead wants to find a solution that fits you. These issues run the risk of damaging a stable co-parenting relationship or causing further damage to an unsteady co-parenting agreement. With her careful hand, empathy, and strong negotiation skills, she can handle even the most precarious familial relationships while protecting her client’s rights.

Divorce in Florida

Ending a marriage is a difficult choice, but it’s one that often leads to better lives for both partners. Before you get that final divorce decree and begin your new life, you have to work out issues like child custody, division of assets, division of debts, child support, and alimony.

As you might expect, figuring out these issues is often contentious. Both parties want to get as much as they can out of the divorce, since starting over is expensive and emotionally draining. However, fighting too much over property and debt can fracture the co-parenting relationship, which is part of the marriage that will be with you for the rest of your life. With Ms. Snead, you can get a full understanding of how each of these issues will affect your life and come up with a plan that focuses on your goals and best interests. No divorce is easy and stress-free, but with a skilled and dedicated divorce lawyer in Lakeland, you can get through the process with your dignity and freedom intact.

Child Custody Cases in Florida

For many divorcing couples, child custody is the single most contentious and emotionally charged topic to discuss. Going from having unfettered access to your children to suddenly being without them half the time is frightening, and it’s natural for both parents to fight this outcome. However, it’s important to put the children’s best interests first. Research consistently supports the idea that children who spend meaningful time with each parent fare better than those who have limited access to one parent.

In Florida, the term used for child custody is timesharing. This alleviates some of the emotional reactions that come with the word “custody” and indicates that, rather than giving ownership of a child to one parent, its goal is to fairly divide a child’s time between both parents. Like many other states, Florida begins with the assumption that 50/50 should be the best outcome. However, each case is unique and not all Judges believe that a 50/50 timesharing schedule in the best interest of the children.  The parties must prove what arrangement is in the child’s best interest. Furthermore, shared parental responsibility allows both parents to retain the legal responsibility of their child, regardless of timesharing.

Under Florida law, 20 different factors are considered when determining a fair parenting plan and timesharing schedule. We will discuss these with you and use them to decide which schedule may be practical and fair for all parties involved.

Determining Paternity

Establishing paternity is an issue that often arises with unmarried parents. When a married woman gives birth, her husband is presumed to be the father. However, if an unmarried woman has a child, paternity must be established through the court. We can help you with this process to ensure that everyone’s rights and best interests are protected. If you and your child’s other parent are not in a relationship and you need to negotiate a parenting schedule and agreement,  we can assist in creating a fair schedule that allows the child to develop a strong and attached relationship with both parents. Timesharing schedules often change throughout a child’s life; while a breastfed baby may not be able to spend nights away from their mother, they may be ready for a more equitable split after they begin eating solid food. We will consider all of your unique circumstances while structuring  a plan.

Child Support

Children deserve to be emotionally, socially, and financially supported by both parents. Child support in Florida seeks to ensure that children have a similar quality of life as they would have had if their parents had stayed together. To reach this goal, the child support system takes a number of factors into account while determining how much support is paid.

Factors affecting child support include how much time the child spends with each parent, each parent’s income and earning capacity, any special needs the child has, and how much financial hardship child support would create.

Child support is an ongoing issue after it is initially settled. While many other issues are relatively easy to resolve after a court order, child support has the possibility to change throughout a child’s life as parents’ earnings change and timesharing schedules evolve. Because of this, you may have to go to court for child support multiple times throughout your child’s life.

Contact Darla K. Snead Now for Effective, Empathetic Help With Your Family Law Case

Facing a family legal need is always emotionally challenging, but the sooner you retain a  family lawyer, the sooner you can begin healing and seeking resolution. Get started now by reaching out to Darla K. Snead, P.L. Call the office or contact us online to take the first step.

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