Child custody and timesharing issues are among the most frequently asked questions that a Jacksonville family law attorney may face in his or her practice. This is due to the fact that divorce gets more complicated when children are involved.
While attorneys are not mandatory in custody battles in Florida, they can play an integral part in ensuring your best outcome. An attorney will help you build the perfect case to secure your child’s custody.
As an experienced Jacksonville family law attorney, I am committed to thoroughly and effectively answering my clients’ questions concerning family law, as well as representing them in court if required.
Child Custody and Timesharing in Jacksonville, Florida
Whether you choose to get an attorney or not, it is best to know all the essential aspects of custody and timesharing. Here are some crucial facts you need to know about child custody and timesharing in Florida.
1. You Can Modify Your Child Custody Terms
If there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the original child custody order was entered, you can petition the family law court for a modification. Whether you need more time with your child or you need to petition for fewer hours, with the right family lawyer, you can get a ruling in your favor and have a few tweaks to the custody terms.
It is even easier to modify custody terms if your spouse has violated the rules of the custody agreement. For instance, if they threaten your children’s well-being, they may lose their custody rights and time sharing privileges. So if you think your ex is abusing drugs or being violent towards your child, do not hesitate to petition the court for a modification.
2. You Can Stop Your Spouse From Moving The Kids
If your ex intends to move across the state or country to separate you from your child and rob you of the opportunity to spend time with the child, you can go to court and contest their move. The Florida family law judge can rule to prevent the parent from moving. If the parent insists on moving, they may have to forfeit their custody rights.
However, you will need an experienced Jacksonville family law attorney to win such a case. With a great attorney by your side and an excellent argument to prove that the child’s best interest is in remaining with you, you may even get full custody of your child.
While this might seem somewhat limiting, it offers both parents the security of knowing where their child is despite what their relationship is with each other.
3. Social Media Can Affect Your Custody Rights
In a world where social media dominates most of our days, keeping our personal lives off the internet is becoming increasingly challenging. For instance, when was the last time you went a day without posting on social media? However, you must keep some things secret from your “online family.”
With the progression of technology, some courts may accept your social media messages and posts as evidence against you. Imagine losing your child custody case because you are constantly posting pictures of your nights out with friends on school nights. You may also want to avoid discussing the ongoing custody case with anyone other than your Jacksonville family law attorney. Some of the things you post, text, or even email may cost you dearly in your battle to keep your children.
4. Your Finances Will Not Affect Much
A common question we get among our family law clients is, “Will my ex get full custody now that they are richer than me?”
While your financial state is one of the considerations that the family court will consider, it is not the main determinant in granting custody. Financial wealth only comes into the picture when determining the amount of child support required from each spouse.
However, that does not mean that you can neglect your financial growth. Most judges will want to know that you can competently take care of your child once you get custody and provide your fair share of child support. So, your financial decisions play a considerable role in acquiring child custody.
5. You Can Get Custody Even If The Divorce Was Your Fault
“But what if I was the cause of the divorce?” The great news is that Florida is a “no-fault” state. So it doesn’t matter whether you are the one who caused the divorce.
Judging by the information or evidence you provide, you can prove that even though you could not make your marriage work out, you can still bring up your children in a way that is best for them.
If you were the cause of your divorce, you might need to secure a Jacksonville family law attorney’s services since your spouse may use some of your mistakes to weaken your custody case.
6. There Are Exceptions For Non-Biological Parents
As a rule of thumb, biological parents will get custody of the child in case of a divorce. However, if the other parent adopted the child during the marriage, they stand a chance in the legal custody battle.
There are some exceptions for cases whereby the biological parent is not suited to take good care of the child or is a risk to the safety and well-being of the child.
If you’re not a biological or adoptive parent and can prove that your ex is incapable of taking good care of your children, you may want to get yourself capable child custody lawyers for the case. They can help you through all you need to do to get custody and time sharing over your child.
7. The Court Can Consider the Child’s Preference
The child’s preference may be considered by the judge. So, whether you qualify in most other ways to get child custody, the judge may ask your child which parent they prefer to live with. However, the child needs to be old enough for them to make the decision. The judge will only consider the child’s opinion if the child is intelligent enough to know what they are choosing and if they have lived long enough with either parent to make an informed decision.
Even if the Court considers the child’s preference, this preference is not determinative and is only one factor considered of many. In cases where the child chooses a parent who is less suitable and can pose harm to them, you can have your Jacksonville family law attorney argue to the Court that it is not in the child’s best interest for that parent to have custody.
8. Florida Allows Uncontested Custody
Sometimes divorced parents decide unanimously that the child would be better off in the custody of one of the parents or with shared custody. For instance, if the father is an ever-traveling businessman, they might agree that the child is better off being raised by the mother.
If you find yourself in such a situation, the Florida law courts allow you and your ex to decide which parent will best raise the child and maximize the child’s well-being. Once you decide on this, you can go to court and ratify your decision. Uncontested custody is not just good for children; it will save you both time and resources that you might have otherwise lost in legal custody battles.
9. Only the Home State Can Handle a Custody Suit
According to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), you can only file a custody lawsuit in the child’s home state. To qualify as a home state, the child needs to have lived there for the last six months before the filing of the case.
So, if the child has been a Florida resident for the last six months, you can not receive judgment in any other state.
Get Yourself a Strong Jacksonville Family Law Attorney in Florida
Child custody cases can be tricky if you do not handle them well. Depending on how professionally you handle the case, it may impact your child’s life significantly. The last thing you want is to win the custody battle and go home with a child that loathes you. This is why it is in your best interest to choose an experienced Jacksonville family law attorney for your custody case.
At Griffin Family Law, PLLC, we know how stressful and emotionally draining a child custody dispute can be, and we do everything in our power to alleviate our clients’ stress. We’re ready to go to court and fight hard for you. If we’re unable to reach a satisfactory resolution through negotiation. Contact us today!