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Child Custody

During child custody proceedings in Destin, or proceedings to determine sole or shared parental responsibility, the court will look at several factors, including:

  • The best interest of the child;
  • The mental health of the parents;
  • The emotional health of the parents;
  • The child’s extracurricular activities;
  • Which parent has been the primary caregiver of the child;
  • The parents’ occupations;
  • The physical health of the parents; and/or
  • The emotional relationship between the child and the parents.

It is important to hire an experienced family law attorney in Destin to represent your best interests in these proceedings to ensure you receive the maximum amount of visitation time or custody with your child.

DeFuniak Springs Child Custody Lawyer

Contact the Adkinson Law Firm, LLC for a consultation if you no longer agree with your parenting plan or need to change your child custody order throughout the Florida Panhandle, including the areas of Crestview, Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Milton, Navarre, DeFuniak Springs, Pensacola and Panama City.

The attorneys of the Adkinson Law Firm are knowledgeable in all areas of Florida’s child custody, modification, parenting plans, visitation and guardianship laws. Contact the Adkinson Law Firm, LLC for a free consultation today at (850) 892-5195 about your child custody issues throughout Destin and South Walton.


Walton County Child Custody Information Center


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Florida Child Custody Laws

According to Section 61.046 of the Florida Statutes, a parenting plan is defined as a document that governs the shared decisions by the parents of a child or children after they have decided to not parent the children together, including the child’s education, health care, and physical, social and emotional well-being. The parenting plan also includes a time-sharing schedule for the parents. A custody order is a judgment by the court incorporating the parenting plan and any child support order.

Sole parental responsibility is also known as sole custody and occurs when one parent makes the decisions, both minor and major, for the children without input from the other parent. This type of custody is usually not granted unless evidence of behavior that is harmful to the child is demonstrated, such as domestic violence, illegal drug use or child abuse. The judge will grant this form of custody if it is in the best interest of the child.

Shared parental responsibility is where the parents of the children share joint custody of the children and both make decisions, minor and major, in regards to the child. The parents must consult each other before they make a decision about the child’s welfare. This type of custody is usually the default and will be ordered by the judge unless it is not in the best interest of the child.

Time-sharing schedules are part of the parenting plan that creates the specified times the children will spend with each parent, which is also known as visitation.


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Destin Modification to Child Custody

After a custody plan or parenting plan has been ordered by the court, the parties may seek a modification to the judgment. There are a number of reasons one or both parents may modify a child custody order. These reasons can include, but are not limited to:

  • If one parent moves to another state or city;
  • If one parent has an alcohol addiction;
  • If one parent has a substance abuse or drug problem;
  • If one parent has committed domestic abuse;
  • If one parent has committed child abuse or neglect;
  • If there is a substantial or material change in the circumstances;
  • The child’s wishes;
  • If one parent changes their lifestyle;
  • If one parent remarries an abusive spouse; or
  • For any other reason in the best interest of the child.

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Visitation Violations in Destin

According to Fla. Stat. § 61.13, if a parent violates the parenting plan that is in place by refusing to let the parent have custody or visitation of the child, they can be punished by the court in any of the following ways:

  • Payment court costs and legal fees of the other party used to enforce the parenting plan;
  • Take a parenting court;
  • Perform community service;
  • Modify the parenting plan to change the parental responsibility or primary residence; or
  • Anything else the judge sees fit.

If one parent is not paying their child support as ordered by the court, the other parent cannot refuse to let that parent have their court-ordered visitation or custody of the child. If the parent does refuse to allow visitation, they can still be penalized in of the preceding ways or the court could grant more time to the other parent to make up for lost visitation time.


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Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) was created to avoid jurisdictional competition and conflict with courts of other states in regards to child custody when a child moves from one state to another or the child’s parents reside in separate states, according to Fla. Stat. § 61.502. This means if a child’s home state is Florida, but the child’s parents reside in two separate states, the UCCJEA will govern custody of the child, as opposed to the laws of either state.


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Destin Child Custody Resources

Florida Statutes Online – This link is to section 61.13 of the Florida Statutes, which contains the state’s laws regarding custody, parenting plans and time-sharing schedules. This chapter defines all elements to child custody, including parenting plans, custody orders, support, visitation, and guardianship.

Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act – This link is to Part II of Chapter 61 of the Florida Statutes, which contains laws regarding the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) in Florida.

First Judicial Circuit Court – This link is to child custody and family law information throughout the First Judicial Circuit of Florida, which has jurisdiction over Okaloosa County, Escambia County, Santa Rosa County and Walton County. The Okaloosa County court is located at:

Okaloosa County Courthouse
101 James Lee Blvd. East
Crestview, Florida 32536
Phone: (850) 609-4700

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Adkinson Law Firm, LLC | Destin Child Custody Attorney

If you need or want to modify your child custody agreement throughout the Florida Panhandle, you should make sure that you have legal counsel experienced in family law matters. The Adkinson Law Firm represents clients in communities throughout Okaloosa County, Santa Rosa County, Bay County, Walton County, Holmes County, Washington County and Escambia County.

Clay Adkinson of the Adkinson Law Firm is an experienced DeFuniak Springs family law attorney who will make every effort to help you create the best parenting plan for your particular situation or modify your current custody order. Contact the Adkinson Law Firm today for a free consultation at (850) 892-5195 or send an online message about your child custody issues today.