Sarasota Child Custody Lawyers

Child custody and visitation are among the most sensitive aspects of any divorce or separation. When parents are unable to reach a mutual agreement concerning the manner or the location in which their children will be raised, Florida courts will determine a custody order, and/or a visitation agreement and attempt to resolve a range of disputes among married parents, unmarried parents, guardians, grandparents, and custodians.

To ensure a beneficial resolution to any child custody case, it’s imperative that parents, custodians, and/or guardians seek the comprehensive counsel of a child custody lawyer in Sarasota, FL. Our family law firm is comprised of a team of skilled and knowledgeable lawyers who can help ensure the protection of your parental rights and the prioritization of your child’s best interests. Schedule a consultation with Tobaygo Law today.

What Is Child Custody?

Child custody refers to the total care of a child and it exists in two forms — physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody determines the child’s place of residence. The parent who achieves physical custody is typically referred to as a custodial parent, while the other parent is often called the noncustodial parent. Legal custody refers to the parent who has the legal right to make decisions about the child’s health care, activities, and academics, among other daily life items. Physical and/or legal custody may be shared between parents or custodians — joint custody — or awarded to only one of the parents or custodians — sole custody. Call our child custody lawyers to discuss your case.

What Is Visitation?

Often called time-sharing, visitation does not grant legal or physical custody to a parent — it allows a noncustodial parent to spend time with his or her child or children. In addition, visitation does not grant to the noncustodial parent any decision-making rights concerning the child’s daily routine, health care, education, or activities. The courts typically choose from the multiple existing visitation arrangements available. Visitation options include residential visitation, which determines where the child lives during weekends and weekdays and holiday visitation, which determines where the child will spend holidays and seasonal breaks from school, such as summer vacation and winter break.

Common Child Custody Arrangements

Whether you and the child(ren)’s other parent decide on a child custody arrangement through mediation or an arrangement for child custody is determined by the courts through legal proceedings, experienced legal guidance from the divorce lawyers with Tobaygo Law will help ensure your child’s best interest is put first and that your rights are protected.

Unmarried Parents

Unmarried parents have the ability to establish a child custody arrangement by filing proper petitions and mutually creating a custody plan. Our Sarasota family law firm can help you and your child’s other parent create a parenting plan, which prioritizes your child’s best interest while accounting for each parent’s unique circumstances and preferences.

Split Custody

Split custody arrangements occur when there are multiple children and one parent has custody of one or more children and the other parent has custody over the remaining children. This arrangement is seldom awarded to parents by the courts when determining a child custody arrangement due to the complexities regarding this type of custody.

Physical & Legal Custody

A physical custody arrangement is determined in most cases with the child living with one parent for the majority of the time, while visitation is granted to the other parent. Legal custody grants the custodial or noncustodial parent the right to make decisions regarding important concerns of the child, including education, activities, and health care.

Joint Custody

Joint custody requires an immense amount of cooperation between both parents seeking to establish custody, as this type of custody arrangement divides equally time spent with both parents. For joint custody to be awarded, both parents must demonstrate to the court that they are willing and able to mutually beneficial decisions and cooperate.

How Do Florida Courts Determine Child Custody?

Florida law is clear about which factors are to be considered by the court when ordering time-sharing arrangement or child custody determination. It's important that parents understand these factors long before they appear before a family court. However, Florida courts have broad discretion in determining child custody and time-sharing arrangements due to the unique circumstances regarding parents. Factors are not limited to but include the following.

  • The child’s school and home history
  • The parents’ mental, physical & moral conditions
  • The permanent nature of the proposed home
  • Continuity of the situation
  • Parents’ ability to provide for the child
  • Ability to meet the child’s developmental needs

Common Issues With Child Custody & Visitation

While there are a number of different issues that may develop in any child custody and time-sharing arrangement, the family law attorneys in Sarasota, FL with Tobaygo Law frequently handle cases that involve the following common child custody issues.


Interference can occur both intentionally and inadvertently. Intentional interference occurs when one or both parents fail to follow the child custody and/or time-sharing agreement. An example of intentional interference is disregarding the time-sharing schedule as ordered by the court. Inadvertent interference can occur when one parent is late returning the child or children to the custodial parent due to severe weather.

Parental Relocation

Child custody and time-sharing agreements can also become affected in the case in which one parent must relocate to a city, state, or country that is different from the location in which they currently reside. If relocation becomes necessary or if the relocation is disputed by the other spouse, contact us to review the arrangement and assist you in filing for child custody and visitation modification with Florida family law courts.