Child Custody

Practice Area > Child Custody


There are few processes as emotional and complex as determining custody of minor children in the wake of a divorce. At Rebecca L. Palmer Law Group, we are sensitive to both the human and legal issues involved in child custody cases, and will bring all of our experience to bear when fighting to secure your rightful place the lives of your children.

How is it determined?

In any dissolution of marriage proceeding involving time-sharing with minor children, a Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) Affidavit is required to be filed along with a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. In order for a Florida court to be able to make a determination regarding time-sharing with a minor child(ren), it must have jurisdiction over the minor child(ren).


When does a court have jurisdiction to determine time-sharing?

Pursuant to §61.514, Florida Statutes (2023), a court in Florida has jurisdiction to make an initial determination of time-sharing in a dissolution of marriage proceeding if:

  1. Florida is the home state of the minor child(ren) on the date a petition for dissolution of marriage was filed.
    or
    Florida was the home state of the minor child(ren) within 6 months prior to a petition for dissolution of marriage being filed and the minor child(ren) are absent from Florida, but a parent or person acting as a parent still lives in Florida.
  2. A court of another state does not have jurisdiction of a minor child(ren) as stated above
    or
    a court of the minor child(ren)’s home state declines to exercise jurisdiction on the grounds that Florida is a more appropriate forum under §61.520, Florida Statutes (2017) or §61.521, Florida Statutes (2017).
    and
    a.) The minor child(ren) and the parents, or the minor child(ren) and at least one parent or person acting as a parent, have significant connections with Florida.
    b.) Substantial evidence is present and available in Florida in regard to the minor child(ren)’s care, protection, training, and personal relationships.
  3. All courts having jurisdiction over the minor child(ren) as specified above decline to exercise jurisdiction on the grounds that Florida is a more appropriate forum under 61.520, Florida Statutes (2023) or §61.521, Florida Statutes (2023).
  4. No court of any other state would have jurisdiction over the minor child(ren) as specified above.

In establishing or modifying parental responsibility and creating or modifying a parenting plan, a court will make a determination of what is in the best interests of the minor child(ren) and will consider several factors under §61.13, Florida Statutes (2023), including but not limited to the capacity of each parent to co-parent and facilitate as well as encourage a continuing parent-child relationship.

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