Child Custody

Jacksonville Child Custody Attorney

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, both parents must maintain a high level of communication and relationship with their kids. Suppose you are involved in a complex custody battle. In that case, our firm recommends working with an experienced child custody lawyer in Jacksonville, 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 possession of your children.

Why Hire My Firm?

Choose a Professional Family Attorney. 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?

A court can establish three basic types of custody arrangements. These include physical, legal, and joint custody.

  • Physical custody: Physical custody refers to the right of a parent or guardian to have children live with them. 
    • This can be joint physical custody, where the children live with both parents for a significant amount of time, or sole physical custody, where the children 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. 
  • Joint custody: Joint custody refers to an arrangement where both parents share physical and/or legal guardianship of a children. 
    • In joint physical custody, the child spends significant time with both parents. 
    • In contrast, in joint legal custodianship, parents have an equal say in making important decisions about the child's upbringing.

In addition to the three types of custody, a judge can establish different visitation rights through a court order or an agreement between the parents.

Visitation rights allow the non-custodial parent to spend time with the children. 

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 child's best interest.  Florida does not show any bias towards the gender of the parent. It is not considered solely a "mother or father" state. As a 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 custodianship. 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 kid is old enough)
  • Any instances of abuse or domestic violence

Many courts desire that the divorcing couple work out these issues independently before having court interference. Parents should be able to decide if they can reach a mutual agreement. For optimal results, it is beneficial to enlist the help of a board-certified Jacksonville lawyer.

Call (904) 849-5183 for a Free Initial Consultation!

How to Get Child Custody in FL

Regarding guardianship, many parents do not have their child's interest in mind but rather their own. Obtaining guardianship in Florida is entirely different 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 substantial 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 kid may choose which parent to live with, most cases arrive at the same conclusion where the children may only have their choice once they are 18. The court will always decide a case that meets the child's best interests.

About Sharing time and Custody 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 children.

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 children at that stage of life
  • Willingness of each parent to be involved in child's life
  • Parent's ability to encourage relationship 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

The court can consider their personal preferences if the kid is of mature age and intelligence.

Many factors must be considered when determining a timesharing plan, and a child custody attorney in Jacksonville can help you have them examined.

Call (904) 849-5183 for a Free Initial Consultation!

What Are Mothers Rights in Florida?

Whether married or single in Florida, a mother has sole legal rights over the minor children from birth. If the father wishes to do a paternity test to establish his rights, it could change. But, in the state, a mother is automatically given legal possession of their children.

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 children? The mental health of the parent does not automatically mean a reduction in parenting time or guardianship, 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 children with them.  Fortunately, there are ways in which you can petition for a modification before the move occurs. Doing so may increase your involvement in the arrangement, giving you more say in your child's relocation. The court can also deny the other parent's relocation requests, so you should feel free to organize a case.

Schedule a Free Initial Consultation!

Turn to A Board-Certified Attorney

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 family 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 your child's best interest. I spend significant time with clients when preparing a parenting plan to develop one that reflects the entire family's needs. My experience as a Jacksonville attorney gives me an advantage in your child custody case.

Understanding Shared Parenting in Florida

Shared parenting, also known as joint custody, is a common arrangement in Florida where both parents have equal responsibility for the care and upbringing of their children. This type of custody arrangement can benefit the children by allowing them to maintain strong relationships with both parents.

Some key points to understand about shared parenting in Florida include:

  • Shared parenting does not necessarily mean equal time with each parent, but rather equal responsibility for decision-making and upbringing.
  • Florida courts encourage shared parenting arrangements, but the best interests of the child are always the top priority.
  • Parents must create a timesharing plan that outlines the schedule for when the children will be with each parent, as well as how decisions regarding the children will be made.

Our experienced Jacksonville child custody at Charles E. Willmott, P.A. can help you navigate the complexities of shared parenting and ensure that your rights and the best interests of your children are protected. Contact us today for a free initial consultation to discuss your child custody case.

Enlist an Experienced Family Law Attorney

Many types of custody are offered, and an attorney must inform individuals of all available options. 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 custodianship issues. I have the credentials to help you obtain custodianship 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 guardianship agreement that works for each family member. When the road seems gloomy and confusing, it is essential to remember that an efficient and experienced attorney can help you craft a resolution that enables the family to salvage the good in their relationship.  My law 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!

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."
Your Family Deserves Dedicated Attention
  • Certified Family Law Mediator
  • Board Certified in Marital & Family Law
  • Nearly 30 Years of Experience in Family Law
  • Personalized Attention for Individual Needs
Contact Us Today We're Here to Help

Fill out the form below or feel free to call us at (904) 849-5183. We also offer remote video & Zoom conferences.

  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.
  • By submitting, you agree to be contacted about your request & other information using automated technology. Message frequency varies. Msg & data rates may apply. Text STOP to cancel. Acceptable Use Policy