When Florida decides on child custody modifications, the only needs they’re taking into account are those of your children. The courts will be interested in establishing a healthy routine and ensuring they’re in the best possible environment.
When both parents are on board with the time-sharing arrangement, things go much smoother. The courts will generally not bother to review a child custody modification that was reached cooperatively.
On the other hand, situations change. One parent may need to take work elsewhere or in a different school district. The needs of your children may change. They prefer living with one parent over the other parent. The situation may be better for them to switch homes. One parent may not be financially or emotionally stable enough to continue caring for the children.
Circumstances That Allow for Child Custody Modification
The courts, generally, err on the side of continuity. Common reasons to modify a child custody arrangement include:
- A permanent change in circumstances or relocation
- The change is in the child’s best interests
- A child’s preference can be a factor
- Refusal by one parent to honor custody schedule
Involving the Court in a Child Custody Modification Order
When two parents agree to a modified plan but do not involve the courts, things can go awry if one or the other parent does not honor the unwritten agreement. This is a common reason for involving the courts in your child custody modification. It solidifies the verbally agreed upon change and holds the other parent accountable to the verbally agreed upon arrangement.
Another common reason for involving the courts is when parent proposes a modification, but the other parent contests that modification. The court will then decide if the modification is in the child’s best interests.
Finally, parents often involve the courts in their child custody modification when they feel as though the other parent is providing their children with a hostile or potentially harmful living environment.
In each case, the courts will make a decision that is in the best interests of the child.
How Does the Court Resolve Requests for Disputed Child Custody Modification Orders?
The State of Florida will evaluate all evidence presented to them that the current arrangement does not suit the best interests of the child. Key factors include the following:
- Child’s preference for living with one or the other parent
- Duration of time the child has been living in a stable environment
- Best way to sustain a stable living environment for the child
- Parent’s capacity to cooperate in terms of time-sharing
- Health and education of the child
These are the key factors that the State of Florida considers when determining that a child custody modification.
How the Court Determines the Best Interests of the Child
The court, in all cases, will attempt to determine what is in “the best interests of the child”. But what are they actually considering here?
Firstly, the courts assume that having both parents in their life is in the best interests of the child. Unless one parent has been found to be “unfit” the court will, by default, attempt to resolve the situation such that both parents have access to their child.
The courts, however, also believe that the child benefits from being in an environment that is free from both abuse and neglect.
On the other hand, the courts also assume that consistency is in the child’s best interests. In other words, the default on the side of not moving the child’s primary residence from one home to another. They won’t be in favor of changing the child’s school district or disrupting their schedule and will need a good reason to do so.
Lastly, a court may consider family ties that have emerged in the process of residing primarily with one parent.
A Child Custody Lawyer Can Help You Seek Child Custody Modification
Even when both parents generally agree on modifications to the child custody arrangement, it’s a good idea to have an attorney on your side, as well as inform that attorney of the verbally agreed upon change to the custody arrangement.
The Law Office of A. Sam Jubran P.A. will advocate on your behalf. If your ex-spouse is making your life difficult, not upholding their end of the agreement, doesn’t have the best interests of your children at heart, or you simply want to formalize your custody arrangement, feel free to give our office a call and we can provide you with a powerful resource to ensure the courts take your interests into account when you request a child custody modification.