Child Custody

Child Custody Lawyer Jacksonville, FL

Successfully Fighting for the Best Interests of Children

Charles E. Willmott, P.A., an established child custody lawyer in Jacksonville knows your children come first. That is why I offer my counsel and guidance during this precarious time.

Children are a precious and significant part of any family. In most divorce cases involving children, it is important that both parents maintain a high level of communication and relationship with their child. If you hare involved in a complex custody battle, we highlight recommend working with an experienced child custody lawyer in Jacksonville, FL at Charles E. Willmott, P.A.. There is too much at risk to attempt to do it alone -- having a seasoned attorney by your side will improve your chances of successfully obtaining custody of your children.

Why Hire My Firm?

Choose a professional family lawyer. Contact Charles E. Willmott, P.A. via online form or call (904) 849-5183 for a free initial consultation.

What Are the 3 Types of Custody?

When it comes to custody, there are three basic types of custody arrangements that can be established by a court. These include physical custody, legal custody, and joint custody.

Physical custody: Physical custody refers to the right of a parent or guardian to have a child live with them. This can be joint physical custody, where the child lives with both parents for a significant amount of time, or sole physical custody, where the child primarily resides with one parent.

Legal custody: Legal custody refers to the right of a parent or guardian to make decisions regarding a child's upbringing, such as education, healthcare, welfare, and religious practices. This can also be joint or sole legal custody.

Joint custody: Joint custody refers to an arrangement where both parents share physical and/or legal custody of a child. In joint physical custody, the child spends significant amounts of time with both parents, while in joint legal custody, both parents have an equal say in making important decisions about the child's upbringing.

In addition to the three types of custody, there are also different types of visitation rights that can be established. Visitation rights allow the non-custodial parent to spend time with the child. Visitation rights can be established through a court order or through an agreement between the parents.

How is Child Custody Determined in Jacksonville, Florida?

When a court makes any decision regarding children, whether it is custody, support, or visitation, the determining factor should reflect the best interest of the child. Florida does not show any bias towards the gender of the parent and is not considered solely a "mother or father" state.

As a child custody lawyer in Jacksonville, I am here to help you understand what courts use to decide the child's best interests, as many factors affect the determination. For example, suppose the court grants sole custody. In that case, it is often given to the parent most likely to allow the child a relationship and contact with the other parent.

Other factors that are considered include:

  • Who is the primary caretaker of the child and his / her activities
  • Moral, mental and physical issues in regards to each parent
  • The child's personal preference (if the child is old enough)
  • Any instances of child abuse or domestic violence

Many courts desire that the divorcing couple work out these issues on their own prior to having court interference. It is my belief that parents should have the ability to make this decision, if they are able to come to a mutual agreement. For optimal results, it is beneficial to enlist the help of a board-certified Jacksonville child custody lawyer.

How to Get Child Custody in FL

Regarding custody, many parents do not have their child's interest in mind but rather their own. Obtaining guardianship in Florida is an entirely different process than in any other state. Florida law has changed from previous models to one that stresses the importance of parents sharing the responsibility for the minor. This mutual responsibility refers to the sharing of commitment by both parents to care for the child's needs after a divorce. This responsibility relates to providing for the child's needs and spending a substantial amount of time with them.

What is the Age That a Child Can Choose Which Parent to Live With in Florida?

While there are unique and rare circumstances in which the child may choose which parent to live with, most cases arrive at the same conclusion where the child may not have their choice until the age of 18. The court will always decide a case in which the best interests of the child are met.

Call (904) 849-5183 or email a child custody lawyer in Jacksonville, FL today to schedule a free review of your custody case. We offer remote video & Zoom conferences as well

About Child Custody and Time Sharing in Florida

Determining a Timesharing Plan

When developing a timesharing plan, the court takes into consideration many factors concerning both the mother and father. Florida law is specific on how the plan is created because it strives to uphold the best interest of the child.

The main considerations include:

  • Parent's mental and physical well-being and health
  • The distance of both parents from child's regular routine
  • The distinct and unique needs of the child at that stage of life
  • Willingness of each parent to be involved in child's life
  • Parent's ability to encourage relationship of child with the other parent
  • Parent's ability to make child's best interests first priority
  • Any history of domestic abuse or neglect by a parent

If the child is of a mature age and intelligence, the court can take into consideration his or her personal preferences. There are many factors that must be considered when determining a timesharing plan and a child custody lawyer in Jacksonville can help you have them examined.

How to Prove a Parent Unfit

Before declaring your partner to be unfit, it is crucial that you are confident in your belief and have concrete evidence to support your claim. It is easy to lose yourself in the emotions of the stress of a divorce. Making any false or reckless accusations will cause more harm than good.

Here is the process by which a judge may rule a parent unfit:

  1. Does the parent have a history of child abuse, domestic violence or substance abuse?
  2. Does the parent suffer from a psychiatric illness that might pose a risk to the welfare of the child? The mental health of the parent does not automatically mean a reduction in parenting time or custody, but they must provide verification of treatment and management to show the court their efforts.
  3. Does the parent have good communication between the children? It is important for both parents to encourage positive relations among each other.
  4. Testimony from witnesses regarding your ex-spouse’s abusive behavior, it can be in the form of video or physical evidence.

If necessary, a judge may send a professional evaluator to conduct an investigation.

What can I do if my Ex-Spouse is Trying to Move with My Child?

If you are a non-custodial parent, you may have significant concerns about your ex-spouse relocating – as they would be taking your child with them. Fortunately, there are ways in which you can petition for a modification before the move occurs. In doing so, you may increase your involvement in the arrangement, giving you more say in your child's relocation. The court has the power to deny the other parent's relocation requests, as well, so you should not hesitate to organize a case.

Turn to A Board-Certified Jacksonville Child Custody Lawyer

At Charles E. Willmott, P.A., I have the credentials and experience to help you and your family make these important decisions concerning the protection of your child(ren).

  • I have more than nearly 30 years of experience helping clients with their custody issues and disputes.
  • I was a former social investigator for the 4th judicial circuit and as Master of Florida Family Law Inn of Court.
  • I am board-certified in my field.

I can present your case to the court in a way that helps the judge understand what is in the best interest of your child. I spend a significant amount of time with clients when preparing a parenting plan in order to develop one that reflects the needs of the entire family. My experience as a Jacksonville divorce attorney gives me an advantage in your child custody case.

Enlist an Experienced Child Custody Lawyer in Jacksonville

Many types of custody are offered, and I believe that a lawyer must inform individuals of all the options available to them. My firm was founded on family values, and I am committed to helping people deal with their difficult situations. I take great care when helping families through custody issues. I have the credentials to help you obtain custody of your child if that is in the child's best interest.

For nearly 30 years, my philosophy as a family law lawyer in Jacksonville, FL, has been to care for clients as if their families were my own. I take the cases I work on to the heart and fight them as if they were my own.

I can work closely with you to help you craft a parenting plan and child custody agreement that works for each family member. When the road seems gloomy and confusing, it is essential to remember that an efficient and experienced lawyer can help you craft a resolution that enables the family to salvage the good in their relationship. My office represents all individuals from different backgrounds trying to develop a plan that includes sharing children after a divorce.

Related Reading

Contact my office at (904) 849-5183 to begin the process of developing a peaceable settlement. Contact a seasoned child custody lawyer in Jacksonville, FL today!

See What our Clients Say


  • "Charles Willmott is a dedicated professional who will speak the truth. Mr. Willmott is straightforward with his clients and is willing to listen. He can take what at times can be very messy situations and come up with a clear plan of action."
  • "I was a mess the first day I met with him; he immediately put my mind at ease and explained the different outcomes my divorce may have had. He's extremely knowledgeable, upfront, and honest."
  • "I have been a client of Charles for almost nine years, and he has never let me down. He always told me what to expect and has been right every time."
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