A child custody arrangement is a key component of your divorce as it affects the wellbeing of your children and your relationship with them now and in the future. At times, the child custody arrangement that worked well at the beginning of the divorce may no longer apply to your current situation and a modification may be needed. Today, we discuss the reasons for a child custody modification, how to request one, and which factors the courts refer to before granting a change.
How Can You Modify a Child Custody Arrangement?
A judge will consider making a modification to a child custody agreement if both parents agree to a modification, a final judgment of injunction for protection against domestic violence has been initiated, or a substantial change in circumstances has occurred that has impacted you or your child(ren)’s lives.
To establish a substantial change in circumstances, you will need to prove this change to the court. A substantial change in circumstances could include but is not limited to:
- Major move
Essentially, any new change that would negatively impact a parent’s ability to parent can be considered a substantial change in circumstances.
The Court’s Perspective: Advocating for the Child’s Best Interests
Courts understand a child benefits from a relationship with both parents – in most cases. Therefore, a judge is often hesitant to modify a child custody agreement unless there is a legitimate reason for doing so that if not acted upon could cause damage to the child’s health and safety. If you can show that the child is at risk under the care of either parent, the court will limit or restrict that parent’s access to the child.
Custody Modification Based on Relocating
Relocating for a new job opportunity or to help support a family member is common. However, if you have a child, you will need to factor in how this move will affect him/her and how custody will be impacted. If you are planning on moving out of state, you will need to modify your existing child custody arrangement. You can accomplish this by changing your agreement with your ex-spouse or going to court.
Florida law encourages parents to share the rights and responsibilities that accompany raising a child. If one parent wants to relocate 50 miles away or more from their current home, this could be considered grounds for a parenting plan modification. This type of relocation would make it difficult for the child to make frequent and continued contact with both parents. It is important to note that relocation does not necessarily lead to a modification in custody.
If both parents agree to the relocation and the custody arrangement provides the noncustodial parent with the ability to visit the child, a judge may approve it if it adheres to the child’s best interest’s standard. Custodial parents have the right to change residences or move to a new neighborhood with the child if doing so is within the child’s best interests as well.
Need A Child Custody Modification? Call Our Office Today
Child custody issues can be contentious at times, which is why it is best to seek guidance and counsel from an experienced attorney. At Bauer Law Group, P.A., we are committed to our clients’ unique needs. We understand that no two families are the same, which is why we approach your case in a manner that is tailored to you. If you think a child custody modification is in your child’s best interests, do not hesitate to contact us.
Contact our office online or reach out to us at (352) 310-8169 to get started on your case today.