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Parental Rights & Visitation Lawyers Serving Lakeland & Sebring

We know the territory

Sessums Law Group, P.A. provides quality legal representation to protect parents’ rights. Visitation rights are also known by the legal term “time-sharing” rights.  When it comes to your children, you need an expert on your side. Mark A. Sessums is double board certified in Civil Trial Law and Marital and Family Law by the Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and Education. Our team of professionals understands what you are going through and works to achieve a favorable outcome for you and your children.

What are my rights as a parent?

If parents are divorced, the extent of each parent’s rights may be limited by the divorce decree or child custody order. Unless a parent’s rights have been limited,they have the right to enjoy a meaningful relationship with their children. In addition to regular time-sharing rights, parents in divorce situations are entitled to rights such as:

  • The right to timely information regarding the health, education and welfare of the child
  • The right to have input in decisions concerning the health, education and welfare of the child
  • The right to consult with a physician, dentist or other health professional about the child
  • The right to interact with school officials concerning the child’s welfare and educational status
  • The right to attend the child’s activities
  • The right to be designated as an emergency contact on the child’s records
  • The right to consent to medical, dental and surgical procedures to promote the health and safety of the child
  • The right to manage the estate of the child

In a divorce or custody proceeding, a court can further expand or restrict a parent’s rights depending on the circumstances of the case.

Why would a parent’s rights be terminated?

In some situations, a court may find it is in a child’s best interests for their parent to have only supervised visitation or no contact with the child at all. In very serious cases of domestic violence, child abuse or neglect, a judge may decide to terminate a parent’s rights permanently.

In other situations, a parent who has not been involved in their child’s life for various reasons may agree to a voluntary termination of rights in favor of adoptive parents. Depending on the circumstances, a court may allow a parent to sign over or relinquish their rights if a suitable person is waiting to take permanent responsibility for the child.

Are unwed fathers considered parents in Florida?

Florida recognizes birth mothers automatically, but does not give parental status to an unwed father unless the father properly executed a paternity affidavit or if paternity has been adjudicated by a court. An unwed father in Florida must take steps to protect his parental rights. Our experienced family law attorneys guide fathers through the steps needed to establish paternity and protect their parental rights.

Does Florida have child visitation guidelines?

Florida does not have strict guidelines for time-share schedules. Families come in all shapes and sizes, so parents are encouraged to arrange a time-share schedule that fits their family’s needs. Absent special circumstances, courts suggest the following schedule when one parent has primary physical custody:

  • Every other weekend from Friday after school until 6 p.m. Sunday
  • One week night per week from after school until 8:30 p.m.
  • Extended weekend visitation until Monday at 6 p.m. if visitation falls on a three-day weekend not otherwise dictated a holiday visitation schedule

Children’s needs change over time and you may find yourself needing to modify your custody order. Or, you may be in a situation where your ex-spouse is interfering with or withholding visitation, or alienating you from your children. Contact us to discuss the facts of your case and develop a plan to protect your rights while meeting your children’s needs.

What rights do grandparents have?

Despite many attempts by lawmakers over the years to grant time-sharing rights to grandparents, grandparents do not currently have rights to visit their grandchildren over the objection of fit parents. There is one exception: Floridians who are activated, deployed, or temporarily assigned to military service can designate grandparents to exercise their timesharing rights, despite the other parent’s objections.

In addition, grandparents can and do seek custody or guardianship of grandchildren in cases where one or both parents is unable or unwilling to properly care for the children. Sessums Law Group, P.A. helps grandparents seek custody of grandchildren to protect the children’s best interests.

Call Lakeland and Sebring divorce & family law lawyers to discuss your case

Sessums Law Group, P.A. protects clients’ visitation and parental rights in and around Polk, Highlands and Hillsborough counties. We listen carefully to your case and explain how the law applies to your circumstances. Call our Lakeland office at 877-826-5630, our Sebring office at 863-658-4796 or contact us online to arrange an appointment. At Sessums Law Group, P.A., we stand for you!


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