Modifying a Child Custody Order in Florida
When making decisions about child custody, family courts try to promote stable living arrangements and discourage disruptive change. For this reason, once a custody decision has been made, most family courts will only modify a custody agreement if there is sufficient evidence that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred.
Before filing a petition to modify child custody, it’s important to determine whether you have a basis for modification. A basis for modification must go beyond simply being dissatisfied with a visitation schedule or parenting plan. In Florida, as in many other states, a child custody modification requires proving that you or your former spouse has experienced a substantial and material change in circumstances.
Some examples of life changes that may justify a custody modification include drug addiction issues, evidence that one parent is living with an abusive partner or spouse, or reporting of one parent to a child welfare agency for abuse or neglect. A custody order may also be modified if one parent who originally lost custody has made positive changes in his/her life and is in a better position to care for the child. Once a basis for modification has been established, it’s necessary to file a petition to change the child custody agreement.
Modifying a child custody order is a complex and difficult process that requires in-depth knowledge of family law, and for that reason working with an experienced legal professional is extremely helpful. If you would like to modify your Florida custody agreement, work with a knowledgeable family law attorney in Fort Lauderdale.