Parents may have very different ideas about how a child should be raised. Child custody disputes during a divorce or in connection with paternity can become heated and acrimonious. The outcome of these disputes may have far-ranging impacts. It is crucial that you retain a knowledgeable Jacksonville child custody lawyer to help you fight for what is best for your family. If you are concerned about child custody, you should call Kevin M. Cobbin.Child Custody
In Florida, courts make determinations as to child custody or time-sharing of children. Determinations must be made regarding what is called legal custody in other states; legal custody concerns which parent has decision-making authority regarding afterschool activities, medical care, and religious instruction. In some cases, the parents both have decision-making authority. In other cases, only one parent is given decision-making authority. The court may also tailor authority so that one parent serves as a tie-breaker when they disagree.
Additionally, the court will need to make decisions about the amount of time that each parent physically spends with a child. These decisions may involve holidays, child care, international travel, and the extent to which a parent whose household is not the primary household will have visitation. All of these decisions will be set forth in a parenting plan.The Parenting Plan
Parenting plans are documents that specify how parents share their decision-making authority and responsibilities for the children. A child custody attorney in Jacksonville can help you develop a parenting plan. For instance, it should describe how many overnights a child has with each parent. It should also designate the parent who will have the authority to make decisions regarding school, health care, and extracurricular activities.
In some cases, the parents are able to reach an agreement about custody of a child through the informal negotiations of their attorneys or through mediation. In that case, the parenting plan that they create can be submitted to a Florida court for approval. Experienced attorneys who are familiar with these issues can help improve the chance that a parenting plan will pass muster with the court. However, when the parents are unable to come to an appropriate agreement, the court may need to evaluate the situation and order its own parenting plan.Best Interests of the Children
In Florida child custody disputes, a judge will look at a child’s best interests to determine how to allocate time-sharing between the parents. There is no preference given to mothers or fathers when determining child custody. Each case is considered on its own merits, and each parent should retain a Jacksonville child custody attorney to advocate for them.
Factors that the court must consider when determining a particular child’s best interests include the ability of each parent to facilitate a close relationship between the child and the other parent, how parental responsibilities will be divided, each parent’s demonstrated capacity to decide and act upon a child’s needs rather than the parent’s needs, the amount of time that a child has lived in a stable environment and whether it is desirable to maintain continuity, the geographic viability of a parenting plan, the parents’ physical and mental health, the demonstrated capacity of each parent to be informed about a minor child’s circumstances, each parent’s ability to provide a child with a consistent routine, and the child’s ability to communicate with the other parent. When a child is of sufficient understanding, intelligence, and experience, the court should consider the child’s reasonable preference about with which parent to live.Modification
Parents’ circumstances and a child’s best interests may not stay stable following a divorce. The court can modify custody decisions. A parent petitioning for a modification needs to prove that there has been a substantial, material, and unforeseeable change in circumstances for the court to grant a modification of time-sharing.Retain a Child Custody Lawyer in the Jacksonville Area
It can be difficult for parents to see eye to eye on every issue concerning their child. Child custody disputes can turn hostile, with both sides believing that they alone have their child’s best interests at heart. It is important to seek legal representation. If you need an attorney for a child custody dispute, you should consult Kevin M. Cobbin. He represents people throughout Duval County and the surrounding areas. Call him at (904) 357-8448 or complete our online form.