Child Custody

Child Custody Overview

Child Custody

Child custody: an overview

In cases of divorce, the court of jurisdiction for the divorce proceedings also determines child custody arrangements. Under the common statutory provision, if the spouses have children together while married, the parents have joint guardianship over that child and the parental rights are equal. Each parent has an equal right to the custody of the child when they separate.

When determining the home in which to place the child, the court strives to reach a decision in “the best interests of the child.” A decision in “the best interests of the child” requires considering the wishes of the child’s parents, the wishes of the child, and the child’s relationship with each of the parents, siblings, other persons who may substantially impact the child’s best interests, the child’s comfort in his home, school, and community, and the mental and physical health of the involved individuals.
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Attorneys

Laura Vittetoe Esq.​

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Laura principally practices in the area of family law, general civil litigation, and criminal defense. She is an active member of the Florida and New York Bars, admitted to the Middle District of Florida, and the founding partner of Legally Modern Law Group.

Laura is currently accepting clients in Polk, Pinellas,Osceola, Manatee, Pasco, Hernando, Highlands, Hardee, and Hillsborough counties, representing clients in a variety criminal defense and family law actions.

Laura is experienced in litigating high asset divorce cases, and understands the intricacies of such actions. A firm believer in sensible approaches to family law, Laura has been able to negotiate settlements in many highly contested and complex cases.

Laura also serves as a volunteer Guardian ad Litem in the Tenth Judicial Circuit.

After graduating with honors from Stetson University College of Law, Laura worked for the civil rights department at the Counsel on American-Islamic Relations and later as an associate attorney for Gallagher & Associates.

Prior to law school, she attended  Saint Catherine’s College, Oxford, graduating with distinction for her thesis. She lives in Lakeland, Florida with her husband and daughter.


Erin McLean Hardister, Esq.

Erin Headshot
Erin M. Hardister is a native of North Carolina. As a military brat, she’s always had a passion for service and giving back to the community. Mrs. Hardister received her Bachelor of Science in Applied Sociology and Concentration in Law & Society from East Carolina University. She received her Juris Doctorate from Florida Coastal Law School and successfully completed the Family Law Certification Program. During law school, she served as Vice President for the Family Law Society and as a clinician in the Family Law Clinic representing individuals unable to afford legal services.

Mrs. Hardister began her career as an Assistant State Attorney. During this time, she successfully prosecuted a variety of criminal cases. A portion of her tenure was spent in the domestic violence unit where she prosecuted acts of domestic violence and advocated for victims of these crimes. As a former prosecutor, she understands the seriousness of being charged with a crime, and the need to have an aggressive, compassionate, and reliable attorney.

Mrs. Hardister currently handles family, criminal, and auto accident cases in Hillsborough and Pinellas County.