Under Florida law, child custody (also referred to as time-sharing), can be a point of contention in many divorces. Parents often struggle to agree on a time-sharing plan both parties consider equitable. In Florida, courts may have the power to construct a custody plan if parents are unable to come to an agreement. One parent may receive more time with their children than the other parent, and the other parent may not agree. There are several different kinds of time-sharing arrangements in Florida, such as equal time-sharing, majority time-sharing, and supervised time-sharing. When creating a custody agreement, courts examine many factors when formulating a custody arrangement. The court is ultimately concerned with what the child’s best interests are, and there are situations where an existing child custody arrangement may be modified.
When A Time-Sharing Plan May Be Changed In Florida
Florida courts will not alter a child custody arrangement solely because one parent is not content with the terms. However, there are three situations where a child custody agreement may be altered:
- Both parents agree to the change: If your former spouse and you agree to modifications, then the terms of a custody agreement may be altered. If the divorce court made the initial agreement, however, you may require the judge’s approval for the new plan to proceed. If you and your former spouse can come to an agreement, then you can draft, sign, and submit the updated plan to the court. This situation is generally the most straightforward way to modify an existing child custody plan.
- Domestic violence: If your former spouse abused your child or yourself and you were forced to seek a protective order, then you may be able to ask the court to change the custody agreement. If you sought a protective order, then an emergency hearing may be available for a modification
- Significant shift in life circumstances: A major injury, illness, or other substantial change in the life circumstances of you or your spouse may mean you need to change a child custody agreement. If one parent developed a drug addiction and is unable to care for a child, for example, then it may be possible to alter a custody arrangement. Not all life changes are considered “substantial” in court, and the court doesn’t always agree to a modification. A Florida family lawyer from Swickle & Associates can help you determine if this is an option.
When Parents Cannot Agree
When parents are unable to come to an agreement, one parent needs to be able to convince the court to change the child custody arrangement. In situations where there was domestic violence, or where there was a significant change in life circumstances, it may be possible to seek a modification in the custody plan.
Contact Us Today
Custody arrangements can be stressful and complicated, and it’s essential to know your rights in court. Having an experienced family law attorney on your side will give you the best chance of arriving at the child custody arrangement you want. Call Swickle & Associates to schedule a consultation today!