The Legal Process Of Seeking Custody Of A Child In Florida

Seeking Custody Of A Child In FloridaThe legal process of seeking custody of a child in Florida can be a complex and emotionally charged process. Still, it is important for individuals seeking custody to understand their rights and the legal process to effectively advocate for their position. Below we will provide an overview of the legal process for seeking custody of a child in Florida, including relevant statutes and considerations by the court.

Types of Custody in Florida

In Florida, there are two types of custody — legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the authority to make decisions regarding the child’s welfare, including decisions about education, healthcare, and religion. Physical custody refers to the actual physical possession and control of the child.

In Florida, the court may award joint legal custody, meaning both parents have equal decision-making authority, or sole legal custody, meaning only one parent has decision-making authority. The court will also award physical custody, which may be shared or granted to one parent.

Filing for Custody in Florida

To file for custody in Florida, an individual must first be a “party” to the case, which generally means they are the child’s parent, legal guardian, or another family member (if both parents are considered unable to properly take care of the kid).

  • The first step in the process is to file a petition for custody with the court. This petition must include the child’s name and birthdate, the names and addresses of the parties involved, and a statement of the relief being sought (e.g., sole legal custody, joint physical custody).
  • The petition must also be served on the other party, either by personal service (handing the documents to the other party) or by publication (if the other party cannot be located).
  • After the petition is filed, the court will schedule a hearing to determine custody. At the hearing, both parties will have the opportunity to present evidence and arguments in support of their position. The court may also appoint a guardian ad litem (an attorney appointed to represent the best interests of the child) or order a social investigation to gather additional information.

Our family law attorneys are focused on efficiently and effectively preparing clients for the most difficult circumstances. The attorneys at HAWM law have experience dealing with an array of family law matters and can prepare the necessary and often unique strategy and tools that your family may require.

Modifying Custody in Florida

If circumstances change after the initial custody determination, either party may seek to modify the custody arrangement. To do so, the party must file a petition for modification with the court and show that there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the original custody order.

FAQ: What Are Some Factors That May Be Used When Determining Custody in Florida?

The Florida courts will determine custody based on the best interests of the child. In making this determination, the court will consider a variety of factors, including the following:

  • The ability of each parent
    • to provide a stable home environment,
    • to financially support the child,
    • to meet the child’s emotional and educational needs,
    • to communicate and cooperate with the other parent.
  • The child’s relationship with each parent.
  • The child’s preference (if the child is of sufficient age and maturity).
  • Any history of domestic violence or child abuse.

Work With a Family Law Attorney

If you are seeking custody of a child in Florida, it is in your best interests to speak with a knowledgeable and skilled attorney. Our law firm has extensive experience handling custody cases in Florida, and we are dedicated to protecting the rights and interests of our clients.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you in your custody case.

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