Coming to your current child custody arrangements, or time sharing, was likely no easy matter. Whether your divorce was amicable, you probably disagreed on parenting time and other aspects of your parenting plan. You may have breathed with relief once it was all over.
What happens if you are dissatisfied with the custody order, or if a major life change occurs? Can you modify the arrangements, or is it too late? The good news is that modification is permissible under the following circumstances.
Reasons you can modify custody
Florida law states that you must show a "substantial, material, and unanticipated change of circumstances" to warrant a modification. What changes qualify under that definition may be subject to the court's opinion, but common valid reasons include the following:
- Relocation: Perhaps the most frequent scenario, relocating demands a new custody agreement. Reasons for the move may include a new job, family obligations and affordability of housing. The court will examine multiple factors, such as how far the move is and the effect it will have on each parent's time with the children. It may also affect child support payments due to travel costs.
- Health: If one of you has experienced health problems that interfere with your ability to care for your children, either of you can request a modification.
- Safety: Are you concerned for the physical and/or emotional welfare of your children? Causes for this concern may be from suspected domestic violence, child abuse, addiction and severe financial instability. You will need to show proof that these issues exist and have harmed your children.
The decision to modify can be mutual
You do not have to have an extreme situation to change your current arrangement. If you both agree that a change would be beneficial and can decide on the new terms, you can submit your own modification for the court to approve would be in the children's best interest.