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Child Custody

Child Custody Lawyers in Jacksonville, FL

Custody Attorneys Dedicated to Protecting Your Parental Rights

Very few legal disputes are as contentious as those involving child custody.

When two parents divorce, the family courts regard shared parental responsibility as the preferred arrangement.

However, shared parental responsibility can become problematic when the parents do not get along, they are unable to come to a shared parenting agreement, or one believes that the other will be irresponsible, negligent, or abusive.

If you are the parent of a minor child in Florida, and you are involved in a child custody dispute with the mother or father of that child, you are going to need an experienced child custody attorney who will fight for your rights.

With over 20 years of experience in FL family law, we have the necessary experience necessary to secure a favorable outcome in your child custody dispute. Contact Owenby Law, P.A. or give us a call at (904) 770-3141 today to discuss your case.

If you or your spouse is in the military, the circumstances may be different than what is highlighted below; however, there is no need to worry because our attorneys have experience handling cases involving military divorce as well.

What is Child Custody?

In Florida, child custody refers to the legal rights and responsibilities of parents regarding their children after a divorce or separation. There are two main types of child custody: legal custody and physical custody.

Legal custody refers to the right of a parent to make important decisions about their child's upbringing and welfare. These decisions typically include matters such as education, healthcare, religious upbringing, and other significant life choices. In Florida, legal custody can be awarded solely to one parent (sole legal custody) or shared jointly by both parents (joint legal custody). Joint legal custody means that both parents have equal decision-making authority and must cooperate in making major decisions regarding the child's welfare.

Physical custody, also known as residential custody or time-sharing in Florida, pertains to where the child lives on a day-to-day basis. It involves the physical care and supervision of the child. In Florida, physical custody can be awarded solely to one parent (sole physical custody) or shared between both parents (shared physical custody). In cases of shared physical custody, the child spends significant time living with each parent, and the parenting time is divided according to a predetermined schedule or arrangement, which can vary depending on the circumstances and the best interests of the child.

How Does the Court Determine Child Custody in Jacksonville?

Florida law considers the best interests of a child in a custody case—and so do we.

As former legal counsel for the Florida Guardian Ad Litem Program, Joy Owenby spent years representing the rights of children in cases involving family law, dependency allegations, and criminal law. She knows how difficult these issues can be. Under her guidance, our firm works hard to ensure that the needs of children are met while seeking to avoid disagreements motivated by revenge.

When determining custody, the court may consider:

  • The age of their child and their preference (if they are old enough)
  • The ability of each parent to provide for the child’s health and safety
  • Continuity and stability of a child’s education and living arrangements
  • Each parent’s relationship with the child previous to the divorce
  • Each parent’s living situation and ability to support the child
  • Each parent’s willingness to communicate and co-parent

Shared Custody Is Preferred By Florida Courts

We recognize that most parents who are seeking shared custody of their children are doing so with the child's best interests at heart.

However, the reverse of this is also true.

Many mothers and fathers who are trying to deny access to the other parent are doing so because they believe that his or her influence would be detrimental to the child.

However, barring a compelling reason to prevent the other parent from seeing the child (addiction, abusive behavior, criminal activity, etc.), Florida judges will generally enforce an arrangement giving both parents access to the child.

What Type of Parenting Plan Is Right for You?

The basic element in a parenting plan is the time-sharing schedule and the "rules" that will determine how the parents communicate and share responsibilities concerning their children. The main types of parenting plans are traditional vs. safety-focused and standard vs. long distance.

The following questions will help you determine what kind of parenting plan is right for you:

  • Do you and the other parent lives far away from one another?
  • Has the other parent exhibited violent behavior against you or the children?
  • Has the other parent damaged or destroyed property or hurt someone out of anger?
  • Has the other parent been so upset that he/she could not care for himself/herself?
  • Does the other parent abuse drugs or alcohol?
  • Has the other parent used weapons or violence to threaten or hurt people?
  • Has the other parent threatened to never return the children?
  • Has the other parent been served with a domestic violence injunction or no-contact order?
  • Has the other parent ever been arrested for harming someone else?

If the answer to question number 1 is yes, you should design a long-distance parenting plan. If the answer to any of the questions numbered 2 through 9 is yes, you should design a safety-focused parenting plan.

A Jacksonville child custody lawyer from our firm can help you learn more about your case and your available options.

Some other questions that you should consider when creating a parenting plan include:

  • How do you and the other parent communicate with one another?
  • Do you trust the other parent's judgment regarding decisions affecting the children?
  • Do you feel that it is okay to make all of the decisions regarding the children without consulting the other parent?
  • Where do you want the time-sharing exchange to take place?
  • Are you concerned about the children's health, safety, and/or welfare while the children are with the other parent?

Keep in mind that there is not a one-size-fits-all parenting plan and these questions are intended to serve as guides in the development of a parenting plan that will take into consideration your concerns and relationship with the other parent.

It is important to consider your children’s individual needs, such as their temperament and the quality of family relationships.

Pros and cons should be weighed, taking into account all factors.

At Owenby Law, P.A., our child custody lawyers have years of experience helping clients in Jacksonville and throughout Florida understand their rights under the law. We also take the time to explain their available options and how we can be of assistance in matters involving custody, visitation, and parenting plans.

Need Help Drafting a Child Custody Agreement? Call Owenby Law, P.A.

At Owenby Law, P.A., our child custody attorneys in Jacksonville, FL can assist one or both parents in creating a parenting plan that is acceptable to the family courts.

A joint custody plan should include provisions that address the time-sharing schedule, the daily tasks of child-rearing, and the parental authority for medical, educational, and travel decisions. The courts will generally approve of a shared custody plan that allows both the mother and the father to participate fully in raising the child and authorizes both parents to spend time with the child.

Are you ready to discuss your case with Owenby Law, P.A.? Give us a call today at (904) 770-3141.

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The Benefits of Hiring Owenby Law, P.A.

Owenby Law, P.A. is here to help you get the results you need with a team you can trust.

  • Free Initial Consultations
  • Successfully Handled Thousands of Cases
  • Backed by Over 20 Years of Experience
  • Personalized, Results-Oriented Representation
  • A Team of Compassionate Advocates On Your Side
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