A divorce or a breakup wherein the couple shares underage children will typically conclude with a court-ordered child custody arrangement, including a parenting plan. Because these orders are legally enforceable, both you and your child’s other parent will be held to specific time-sharing arrangements and rules regarding how you’ll divide legal authority over your children.
It often takes time for parents and children alike to adjust to time-sharing arrangements. However, if everyone keeps the focus on what is best for the children, the family will typically adapt over time. Unfortunately, some families find themselves in a challenging situation wherein they feel like their parenting plan no longer works for their family.
A formal modification can change the terms of your time-sharing arrangements or the division of your legal custody. When will the Florida family courts allow you to seek a modification?
After a significant change in family circumstances
Typically, a modification hearing is only available when someone can show that their family situation is substantially different from when the court initially entered a custody order. Many different kinds of changes might qualify your family for a review of your existing custody arrangements.
A change in the children’s schooling arrangements or a parent’s employment could justify a modification request. So could a significant change in the health of the children or in the relationship that they have with their parents. Even health issues that affect the parents or the children in the family could be a justification for a modification request.
Once you have proof of a substantial change in circumstances, you will then also need to suggest a specific change to your parenting plans that reflect the best interests of your children. Whether you want to move to Georgia to take a new job that is also closer to your family or you want more parenting time now that your relationship with the children has improved, you can potentially ask the courts to update your existing parenting plan.
In some cases, you may be able to file a cooperative, uncontested modification with the support of your co-parent. But even if they dispute the changes that you request, you may still be able to convince the courts that making some updates would be best for your children.
Learning more about the rules that apply to child custody modifications will benefit parents who want to update their existing orders, either cooperatively or despite the resistance of their child’s co-parent.