Child Custody Modifications

Child custody disagreements are among the most contentious of all issues during, and after, divorce among spouses. After all, what could be more important than the well-being of your child, and being able to spend as much time with them as you wish? For many parents who have gone through divorce or separation, the future continues to be ominous; the idea that your child could be swept away from you if the other parent plans to leave the state, or the fear that the other parent is not providing adequate care and attention for your child, are very real. We understand what is at stake, and our Miami custody modification attorneys are here to help you in your time of need. Whether you wish to relocate with your child, spend more time with your child by gaining physical custody rights, or stop the other parent from going through with a plan that would potentially harm your child physically or emotionally, we can help. Here at the Florida Divorce Law Group, our accomplished attorneys have assisted countless parents through child modification disputes. 

Common Reasons for Modifying the Parenting Plan/Time Sharing Agreement

There are countless reasons why a parent may wish to modify a parenting plan or time sharing agreement. A few of the most common reasons are listed below:

  • Parent's job demands change;
  • It becomes clear that the other parent is passing off their duties to a third party;
  • Other parent harming the child in some way;
  • Child gets older and their educational needs change;
  • One or both parents want a different education/school for their child;
  • Parent loses a job and has more time to spend with their child;
  • Parent wishes to relocate to a different city, state, or country;
  • Parent remarries or enters a new relationship;
  • Parent becomes sick or injured, and cannot fulfill their parental duties;
  • The current plan is not working for a parent or the child;
  • Child, if old enough, wants to spend more time with another parent, or live with them;
  • Child's grades, behavior, or health requires a major change in the parenting plan; and
  • The other parent is morally unfit for the responsibilities they have been given.

How to Modify a Parenting Plan or Time Sharing Agreement

In an ideal world, parents can come together and figure out a way to accommodate each other's (and their child's) time sharing needs. This saves time, money, and stress, as the parents can simply create a new plan together, without attorneys or judges getting involved. However, if one parent wants to change the plan, and the other does not—or wishes to go a different direction with modifications—the best option is to work with an attorney. An attorney can help negotiate with the other party, enter mediation, and if both of those options fail, take the matter to the courtroom and litigate on your behalf. If the matter must be taken to court, the first step for the petitioner (parent who wishes to modify the support order) is to fill out form 12.905(a). If the other party does not respond within 20 days to your petition, after being served, you can file a Motion for Default. Additional paperwork is required at this point, and after that has been completed, you will be scheduled for a Final Hearing. The other parent must be notified of the Final Hearing. In most cases, however, the other party does respond to the initial petition for modification, and in order to move forward if they contest your wishes, you may be required to enter mediation before going to trial. 

What the Court Deems is in the Best Interest of the Child

If the disagreement cannot be resolved in mediation, the court will end up deciding the matter. The court always makes its decision in favor of what it believes is in the child's best interest. While it can be difficult to say exactly what is and what is not in the child's best interest, under Section 61.13 the court uses the following elements to help make the decision:

  • The demonstrated capacity each parent has shown to encourage a “close and continuing parent-child relationship.”
  • Each parent's ability to honor the time-sharing plan, and their ability to be reasonable when changes are necessary;
  • How long the child has lived in a safe, stable environment and the desirability of maintaining that stability;
  • The demonstrated capacity of each parent to provide for the needs of the child;
  • Geographic viability of the plan, particularly regarding time spent traveling for school-aged children;
  • Moral fitness of each parent;
  •  Mental and physical health of each parent;
  • Preference of the child, if the court deems the child's intelligence, understanding, and experience as relevant;
  • Each parent's proven history of being informed of the child's friends, teachers, medical care providers, daily activities, and favorite things;
  • Each parent's proven history of providing consistent routine, including homework, mealtime, bedtime, and discipline;
  • Demonstrated capacity of each parent's communication with the other parent;
  • Any evidence of child neglect, child abuse, domestic violence, sexual violence, or child abandonment;
  • Whether or not a parent has provided false evidence to the court;
  • Parenting tasks of each parent and division of parental responsibilities up until now, including whether or not other third parties (relatives or paid childcare workers) assisted a parent with these tasks;
  • Each parent's involvement in school and extracurricular activities;
  • Whether or not a parent abuses substances (alcohol or narcotics);
  • Whether or not a parent makes disparaging comments about the other parent to their child;
  • Weather or not a parent can meet the developmental needs of the child; and
  • More. 

Call a Miami Child Custody Modification Attorney

Modifying a child custody order, parenting plan, or time sharing plan may be complicated, but it can be done. Through negotiating with the other parent, entering mediation, or litigating the dispute in court, you have the ability to modify the existing custody order or parenting plan to best meet you and your child's needs. The Miami child custody attorneys here at the Florida Divorce Law Group, can help you meet your goals so that you are in the best position to support your child and ensure his or her long term happiness, health, and success. Do not hesitate to call us today at 1-866-240-0730 to schedule a free consultation.

Secure Your Future: Reach Out to Us Today!

At Florida Divorce Law Group, we don't just offer legal advice; we offer peace of mind during challenging times. Specializing in areas like Uncontested Divorce, High-Net-Worth Divorce, Division of Assets, Alimony and its Modifications, Child Custody, Child Support, and Premarital Agreements, we ensure you're not just heard, but understood. Every question you have is important to us. Don't wait or wonder—reach out now for a complimentary consultation, and let's discuss your future, on your terms.