Child Custody FAQ

Counsel from a Jacksonville Custody Attorney

How will the court decide on custody?
In every case, the court keeps one main issue in mind: the best interests of the child involved. Their ruling should be based strictly off of this. Many factors will play into what the judge deems the best interest of the child. For example, they may believe that it is best for the child to get equal time with each parent, or that one parent is not suitable to have physical custody, but can share legal custody.

What factors does a court look at when deciding on custody?
The court will typically look at a variety of factors, including each parents' occupation, mental and health history, finances, living situation, relationship with the child, new marriages or dating relationships, the location of each parent, the child's wishes and more. Other factors they may look at include instances of domestic violence or abuse.

How will a parenting plan be decided on?
A judge will start with giving equal time with children to both parents. From this standpoint, they will then adjust as necessary. This does not mean that a finalized parent plan will include equal time! While the judge must approach a case this way, they will use many other factors to determine the best parenting plan. They will consider parents' work schedules, schooling, commute, transportation abilities, living area, and much more.

Can emails, text messages, or other social media be used in a custody case?
This is a very tricky question. With the way society is changing and growing in technology, text messages, emails, and other forms of social media may now be presented in court as evidence to sway a judge's opinion on child custody. That being said, some evidence can be debated. Regardless, you should keep in mind that a judge can access any of your social media account, prior to and during the trial. This means you should be very aware of the information and language you post.

How do I get child custody modified?
Whether you are moving closer or just want to spend more time with your children, getting an order modified is important. However, you will need to show substantial reason for the order to be modified in order to get the changes you are seeking. Even then, the court may not grant the exact request you ask for. For example, you should have a geographic change, financial change, marital change, health change, or more to be granted a custody modification.

How can I get more custody of my child?
There is no way to guarantee that you will be given sole or joint physical custody of your child. However, there are a few things you can do to prove your devotion and dedication to being the best parent you can be to your child. By demonstrating that you spend time with your child, invest in their lives, and support their interests, you may increase the likelihood of receiving custody. Having a safe home in a clean, respectable area can play a big factor into child custody as well. You may also be given a better parenting plan if you show that you can get along peacefully with the other parent.

My spouse has physical custody and is trying to move the kids. What should I do?
If you fear that you spouse will try to move your children and prevent you from seeing them as you did before in your parenting plan, you may need to take legal action. The court will likely not grant a move-away order or relocation to your spouse if you strongly contest it. If they still wish to move away, they may lose some of their custody rights.

Have more questions? Give my firm a call to discuss your child custody concerns.

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