Orlando Child Custody Lawyer Helps with Difficult Issues

Working to secure your child’s best interests

The Law Offices of Michael R. De Canio assists clients in Orlando, Florida with complex family law matters, including child custody, support, paternity and relocation. When parents decide to divorce or separate, issues involving their children can be some of the most difficult and emotional decisions that they face. Through compassionate, yet assertive representation in mediation and trial, Orlando family law lawyer Michael R. De Canio helps his clients obtain custody and support arrangements that benefit both parents and children.

Child custody/shared parental responsibility

The care and residence of a child of divorce is commonly referred to as custody. However, Florida has in fact abandoned the concept of custody in favor of the doctrine of “shared parental responsibility.” Children benefit from healthy, constructive relationships with both of their parents, and accordingly, under this doctrine both parents retain full parental rights and responsibility for their child after their marriage is dissolved. While the shared parental responsibility doctrine seeks to maintain both parents’ involvement in their child’s life, it also recognizes that one parent is usually primarily responsible for providing the child’s physical residence. In order to determine the best interests of the child for purposes of shared parental responsibility and primary residence, courts evaluate all factors affecting the welfare and interests of the child, including:
  • Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent and continuing contact with the nonresidential parent
  • The love, affection and other emotional ties existing between the parents and the child
  • The capacity and disposition of the parents to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care recognized and permitted under Florida law in lieu of medical care, and other material needs
  • The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity
  • The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home
  • The moral fitness of the parents
  • The mental and physical health of the parents
  • The home, school and community record of the child
  • The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding and experience to express a preference
  • The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent
  • Evidence that any party has knowingly provided false information to the court regarding a domestic violence proceeding
  • Evidence of domestic violence or child abuse

Child Support

Under Florida law, parents have a fundamental obligation to support their minor children. To encourage fair and efficient settlement of support issues between parents and minimize the need for litigation, the state provides a guideline schedule that parents and courts use to determine proper child support amounts. The schedule works by approximating how much money would have been spent on the child if the parents and the child were living together. Each parent contributes a proportionate share to the total support amount. Every order for support contains a provision for healthcare coverage for the minor child when the coverage is reasonably available. In some cases, courts may consider it necessary to protect a child support award and order the parent paying support to purchase or maintain a life insurance policy or bond or to secure the child support award with other suitable assets.


As an experienced Orlando family law lawyer, Mr. De Canio represents clients who seek to establish or contest paternity. A determination of paternity is essential for a father to enforce his parental rights and for a mother to obtain child support payments. Furthermore, under Florida law, upon the dissolution of a marriage, the legal father of a child must be given the same consideration as the mother when courts determine the child’s primary residence, regardless of the child’s age or sex.

Modifications and Relocation

Parental responsibility agreements and child support amounts may be modified upon showing substantial changes in circumstances. Events that often lead to modifications of existing orders include the loss of a job, an illness, the changing needs of a child and relocation. Relocation of one or both parents presents a range of unique issues concerning how each parent will continue to meet his or her obligations to the child, both emotionally and financially. Mr. De Canio has extensive experience helping families deal with relocation, including when one parent objects to the other parent’s proposed relocation.

Consult a dedicated family law lawyers

Attorney Michael R. De Canio helps spouses reach custody and support agreements that benefit their children’s best interests. Contact the firm today for a free initial consultation.

MRD Family Law | Divorce

If you need help resolving a family law dispute while protecting your family's physical, financial and emotional well-being, contact the Law Office of Michael R. De Canio today for an initial consultation.

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