On behalf of The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A.
Your court-ordered child custody arrangement is not set in stone. However, there are just a few circumstances where you will be able to change it. A Florida child custody attorney will be able to help you present your situation and rationale for the requested change in the best light possible.
Reasons You Can Change Your Child Custody in Florida
Child custody modifications should always be viewed under whether it is in the child’s best interest to make a custody change. In fact, family law courts constantly consider what will be the best circumstance or decision based on the child’s mental, physical, and emotional needs.
You can generally modify your child custody order based on three circumstances.
- Both parents agree to change the parenting plan.
If you want to change custody, you may be able to talk to the other parent about the issues you are having. Some parents can work out a new custody arrangement that works for them. Although you can change custody using this method, it is far more likely that the other parent will simply agree to alter related issues like visitation and scheduling.
- You have filed a protective order.
If you think you or your children are in danger because of the other parent, call a family law attorney right away. If you have filed a protective order against the other spouse because you are worried about your safety or the safety of your child, the court may grant emergency custody changes. The judge can also make permanent adjustments to the custody arrangement as well.
- There has been a substantial change in circumstances.
To alter custody arrangements without the consent of the other parent, you must show a “substantial change in circumstances.” This change can be any number of things, but it must be significant enough to change a parent or child’s life.
Exploring “Substantial Change in Circumstances”
Some changes are virtually automatically considered a substantial change in circumstances. Serious criminal charges, the death of a parent, and child abuse are all circumstances where the child custody order will likely be changed.
Modifying child custody is also possible in less severe circumstances as well. The following short list includes just a few examples of situations that may warrant a change in child custody.
- One parent is relocating out of state or very far away
- A parent’s development of a mental or physical health issue
- Substance abuse disorder
- The child has developed a mental, physical, or emotional condition because of the actions of one of the parents
Sometimes the court can also grant custody, rather than take it away, if a parent’s circumstances have improved, such as when a parent has secured employment or successfully recovered from an addiction problem.
Florida courts have concluded that a simple inability to communicate with the other parent, standing alone, will generally not be enough to change the child custody arrangement.
Keep in mind that changed circumstances for custody purposes are not the same as changed circumstances for child support or alimony. Those changes usually focus on income; custody changes are generally not as focused on income or employment.
If you are considering requesting a change to your child custody arrangement, speak to a Fort Lauderdale family law attorney to explore your options. Call The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances at 954-533-2756 for more information.