When you divorce as a parent in Florida, you make a parenting plan and have it approved by the court as part of the child custody agreement. As time passes, you may need to change how your child divides their time between you.
There are various reasons you may want to modify your child custody arrangements:
- One parent wishes to move from the area.
- A parent has health issues and is unable to look after the child as much.
- An older child has expressed a wish for changes to the schedule.
- The other parent is mistreating your child.
- Someone they live with is mistreating your child.
- A parent has remarried and now has another family to care for.
Remember, child custody agreements are legally binding, so if you want to change them, you need to have it approved by a judge. They will only agree to a modification where there has been a “substantial and unanticipated change” to your situation. If you can reach an agreement with the other parent before you file the petition to the court, things will be more straightforward. Otherwise, you will need a hearing where you each present your side of the argument to the court.
Often, no significant change in circumstances has occurred, but the current schedule no longer works logistically for minor reasons. In this case, it is best to reach an arrangement with the other parent without bothering the courts. Florida law understands that you will need to make small adjustments as the years pass.
Dealing with the other parent may have been challenging when the divorce was fresh. Hopefully, time will have healed any wounds, and communication has improved. It will allow you both to make better wise decisions in your child’s best interests.