You and your ex share children. You've been abiding by the child custody agreement worked out as part of your divorce or separation agreement, but it just is not working as well as you would like it to or you have concerns you'd like addressed. What can you do?
The state of Florida does allow parents to seek adjustments to parenting plans. While it may be allowed, it does not mean that achieving the modification is easy.
When to seek a change
When your current parenting plan was created, the terms of the plan likely served the best interests of your children at that time. Well, life happens and sometimes these plans do not work out well in the long term. In order for the court to consider a modification request, there needs to be a valid reason for the request. The court is not likely to change a parenting plan that seems to be working well. Valid reasons for a change include:
- Concerns over a child's welfare
- Parental relocation
- Failure for one parent to abide by the custody order
- Death of the custodial parent
- Child's wishes
At the end of the day, the court does want to make sure your children are safe and taken care of.
How to seek a change
If you feel there is a valid reason to change your custody order, you can go about it one of two ways. First, you can try to work out a new parenting plan with your ex either privately, with the help of legal counsel or in mediation. If you reach new terms, you still need to submit a modification request with the agreed upon terms for court approval before they can become active.
Second, you can file a motion in court. You and your ex will then have the ability to attend a hearing at which you will both get to present your cases for or against the modification to a judge for consideration. The court will have the final say.
Don't have to go it alone
Child custody modifications can be hard to come by. How you approach the matter and your reasoning for wanting the change can make or break your case. If you are not happy with your current parenting plan, legal counsel can review your order and your current circumstances and -- if deemed appropriate -- help you seek an order adjustment.