Circumstances may have changed since a family court issued custody orders, and you may be concerned about the welfare of your children. Fortunately, you can petition the court to modify the existing custody arrangement if you and your co-parent cannot agree on how to go about it.
However, you need compelling reasons for the court to review the current custody orders. Judges are not quick to make orders that would affect the stability of the children, such as reviewing their custody arrangements. You must show how the prior custody orders are not in the children’s best interests.
Grounds for child custody modifications in Florida
For the court to modify custody in Florida, the change in circumstances on either parent’s side must be substantial, material, and unanticipated. For instance, if your co-parent’s behavior is affecting the children’s physical or emotional well-being, it could be valid grounds for modifying custody orders.
Other reasons may include:
- Violent behavior
- Constant violation of existing custody orders
- Drug abuse, among others
Generally, anything that makes the parent unfit to discharge the parental duties placed on them by the current orders might warrant a custody order modification in Florida.
You need evidence of your claims
Modification petitions backed by solid evidence stand a better chance in court. Judges are well aware that co-parents can falsely accuse each other of things.
Therefore, it is crucial to have the necessary evidence. A police report can accompany violence or abuse claims. Witness testimony or statements from the children or a children’s protection services officer can be relied upon as evidence.
Understanding the legal steps needed to modify custody orders is necessary, especially if you are co-parenting and sharing custody. You never know when you will need to seek a modification.