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Tampa Fathers’ Rights Lawyer

Over the years, the pendulum has swung back and forth between the parents in family law proceedings. Until the early 1800s, mothers had essentially no rights in a divorce case, as they had very few rights in any area of law. Over the next hundred years, the pendulum swung radically in favor of mothers. Many courts adhered to the “tender years” doctrine which resulted in the children of divorce always going with the mother, usually with no questions asked.

At The Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group, our Tampa fathers’ rights lawyers are deeply concerned with the rights of both parents in a divorce case that includes minor children. Divorce is not a contest to determine which parent is “better.” Instead, this procedure is about the best interests of the children. Florida law contains a presumption that children are better off when they have consistent and meaningful contact with both parents. We try hard every day to bring about such a result for our clients who are also fathers.

Florida’s Court System

The “tender years” doctrine is gone, but its shadow remains. Especially with regard to youngsters, there is still a presumption that fathers are unable to take care of these children. This presumption is far from conclusive. However, it does mean that, in many Hillsborough County cases, fathers start at a disadvantage.

To deal with this inequity, we bypass the court system through mediation. This procedure is highly successful, usually because both litigants recognize the value of the three Cs:

  • Cost: According to the Department of Justice, mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution save millions of dollars a year in attorneys’ fees and shave thousands of hours off the divorce process.

  • Civility: Trials are public forums wherein each side attacks the other one in order to shore up their own positions. Mediation is a private forum wherein both parents work together to achieve a resolution. Mediation is a very good vehicle when it comes to promoting co-parenting, which is one of the underlying goals of the fathers’ rights movement.

  • Control: Parties are less likely to violate agreements which they had a hand in creating. For example, a mother may hesitate to share parenting time if such an arrangement is court-ordered. However, if she agreed to the plan, she obviously sees the benefits of such an arrangement.

Most Tampa judges order contested cases to mediation, mostly because it works so well.

Shared Parenting Time

Some child psychologists still believe that children of divorce should “live” with one parent and “visit” the other one. Yet there is a growing body of evidence that this traditional model is simply not best for the children.

So, at The Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group, we encourage innovative solutions whenever possible. The “empty nest”arrangement is quite successful in many situations. Instead of the children moving between houses, the parents exchange houses every week or every other week. This model minimizes disruption to the children and maximizes parenting time for each parent.

We also work to make child support obligations reflective of this shared parenting arrangement. Support payments should be based on what is best for the children, and on nothing else.

Connect With Experienced Lawyers

Fathers have rights in family court, but a lawyer must fight to preserve these rights. For a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Tampa, contact The Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group. We routinely handle matters in Hillsborough County and nearby jurisdictions.

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