Child Custody Lawyers in Jacksonville
Custody battles are often a central part of a divorce proceeding. It is not an easy process and often weighs heavily on parents and their children. The court will use the evidence at hand to determine what is in the best interest of the child. As Jacksonville family law attorneys, J. Demere Mason P.A. is focused on effectively presenting the evidence in a way that will help the court understand your point of view. We have litigated numerous child custody cases in Florida, and we have several years of experience with these cases.
The outcome of child custody cases will not only establish custody, they will also determine visitation rights for the non-custodial parent. There are several specifics that need to be addressed in these cases, including:
- Primary and secondary residence of the children.
- Week-by-week visitation schedule.
- Terms of rotating custody schedule.
- Grandparent visitation rights (if applicable).
- Where the children will attend school.
Florida law states that a parenting plan must be established in child custody cases. This is a plan which defines each parent’s duties when minor children are involved. The child’s best interests should be the primary objective in any parenting plan. When done through mediation, the parents can work together to make the important decisions regarding their children’s future without the involvement of the court. Our attorneys can assist you in setting up a parenting plan that helps protect your children’s interests and ensures your parenting rights.
Going to Court
Many child custody cases are unable to be settled amicably through mediation as both parents want full custody. In these cases, litigation will be necessary and the court will have the final say in the matter. Some of the factors the court will consider in determining which parent is awarded custody include:
- Each parent’s current economic status.
- The caretaking ability of each parent.
- History of abuse, criminal record, domestic violence, drug and alcohol problems.
- Children’s wishes as to where they want to live; the older the children are, the more the court will consider their input.
- Current living arrangements for both the parents and the children.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not always a given that custody will be awarded to the mother. There are many cases these days when the father is awarded partial (joint) custody or even sole custody. It will always come down to what the court believes is in the best interest of the child.
Impact on Child Support
Child custody can have a significant impact on child support. Custodial parents very often have the right to receive payments and those matters can affect the financial future of both parents as well as the children.
A modification of custody and visitation schedules can also be petitioned for in cases that were previously settled. If circumstances change, a change in the custody arrangement may be warranted. However, you must show the court that there is justification to modify a case that is already settled.
When it comes to child custody arrangements, having experienced legal representation can be critical in obtaining an agreement (or modifying an existing agreement) in a way you are comfortable with. With over three decades of combined experience, we are committed to aggressively representing your interests and working hard to secure a positive outcome in your case. Contact our office today at 904-726-8589 to discuss your options.