If you have children and are separated or will be separating from the other parent, then it is important to be aware of Florida child custody laws. Familiarizing yourself with the child custody laws will help you know what to expect with your case.

1. Best interest standard

In Florida child custody cases, the court is required to consider the best interest of the child in making a child custody order. In determining what is in the child’s best interest, the court will consider several factors. This may include:

  • The wishes of each parent
  • The child’s wishes
  • The need to promote stability and continuity in the child’s life
  • The character of the parties
  • Domestic violence
  • The children’s relationship with each of the parents
  • Any other factor that may be relevant

2. Presumptions in child custody cases

In Florida child custody cases, the court will presume that joint custody is in the child’s best interest. This means that both parties have involvement in the child’s life and in making decisions regarding the child. To overcome this presumption, it must be shown that sole custody is in the child’s best interest. The law also specifies burdens of proof that a party must meet to establish certain positions in a child custody case.

3. The law governs where a child custody case may be heard

Under Florida jurisdiction laws, the state will only exercise authority over the case if the child has resided in Florida for a specific period of time. If the child has lived elsewhere, then Florida may decline to hear the case. If Florida establishes jurisdiction, then another state cannot issue a child custody order without Florida’s consent.

4. Enforcement of a child custody order

If you have received a child custody order, then it may be enforced through a variety of methods. If the other parent is willfully disobeying a child custody order, then you could pursue contempt of court against them and request that penalties be imposed. If you have questions about how to interpret your child custody order to determine your rights and obligations, then contact a child custody lawyer.

5. Child support

In most child custody cases, the court will order one of the parents to pay child support. The amount of child support that will be required depends upon the incomes of the parents and the custody schedule. If a parent is not paying child support as required, then there are different options available to enforce the order and collect the amounts owed.

6. Modification

If you have an existing child custody order, then it may be modified if there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the time the previous order was entered. What constitutes a substantial change in circumstances depends upon the facts of the case and circumstances involved. Child support may also be modified if there has been a change in circumstances. To pursue a modification, you must comply with certain procedures, otherwise the case could be dismissed.

7. Child custody lawyer

For those who have questions about Florida child custody laws or need assistance with obtaining, enforcing or modifying a custody order, you should contact a Judy Ann Smith Law Firm in Jacksonville. A Florida child custody lawyer will be able to explain how the law applies to your case. A lawyer can represent you in your case and help pursue the relief that you require. They will help ensure that everything is done in compliance with the applicable laws, rules and procedures.

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