Applying for custody of a child in Jacksonville, Florida, is under the jurisdiction of the Fourth Circuit Court in Duval County. The Family Law Division is responsible for all custody complaints. The process of filing for custody (or parental responsibility, as it is known Florida) is uniform throughout the state. The Family Law Division is located in Room 103 of the Duval County Courthouse on 330 East Bay Street in Jacksonville. The phone number is 904-630-2230.
Determine whether the Jacksonville circuit court has jurisdiction over the child custody case. Custody proceedings take place under the jurisdiction of the court where the child primarily lives.
Consider retaining legal counsel to guide you through the custody process. An attorney can help you file the appropriate petitions and forms, gather evidence, and present your argument to the judge. Though not required by Florida law, you likely will have more success with legal counsel.
File a petition with the Duval County Circuit Court Family Law Division to determine paternity, if desired. The court will order DNA testing and set a date for proceedings to resume.
File a parenting plan with the Duval County Circuit Court Family Law Department. A parenting plan is simply a document that establishes the roles for each parent in relation to the child. Custody is no longer a term generally used in Florida family law. If there is a dispute over the parenting plan, you can file a Petition for Temporary Custody with the Family Law Department to maintain temporary custody of your child until the matter can be resolved in court.