When Can I Get a Child Custody Modification in Florida?
Finalizing a child custody case can come as a great relief for parents — it is nice to have stability and a framework that you can rely on. Of course, things change. A custody agreement or custody order that was previously effective may simply no longer work very well for you and your family.
The good news is that parents in this position have legal options available. Florida law offers a mechanism to modify child custody. Within this article, our Tampa child custody lawyers provide an overview of the key things that you need to know about custody modifications in Florida.
Florida Law: The Standard for Child Custody Modifications
Florida family law judges have no interest in re-litigating the same child custody case over and over again. When parents reach a custody agreement or when a custody order has been entered, it will be legally enforceable. You cannot simply seek a custody modification because you are unsatisfied with the current arrangement. You must present good cause to get a modification. Under Florida state regulations (Florida Statutes § 61.13(3)), parties seeking a child custody modification must be able to prove the following:
- There was a substantial and material change in circumstances; and
- That change was not anticipated by the existing child custody arrangement.
Only when there has been a real change in the underlying circumstances will a Florida court agree to re-open the proceedings to consider a custody modification. What type of change qualifies as a substantial and material change? It could be anything from a new job or a relocation to a child changing schools or developing new needs.
Getting a Modification Approved is Easier With an Agreement
Florida courts generally try to defer to collective decisions made by the parents. While there are certainly plenty of exceptions to that general rule, if both of the child’s parents are in favor of a custody modification, it is far more likely that a Hillsborough County family law judge will allow it. The implications of this are clear: If you are a parent seeking a custody modification, it is advisable to try to find a collaborative solution. When you can get the other parent on board, you will have an easier time getting a modification.
At the same time, for obvious reasons, collaborative solutions are not always possible. If you are a parent seeking custody modification over the objections of the child’s other parent, you should contact an experienced Tampa, FL child custody lawyer immediately. You have options available. Your attorney will help you build a strong, persuasive case that proves that your proposed modification is appropriate and in the best interests of your child.
Get Help From Our Tampa, FL Child Custody Attorneys Right Away
At Bubley & Bubley, P.A., our Florida child custody lawyers have deep experience handling the complete range of family law modifications. If you need legal advice, we are ready to offer guidance. To arrange a completely confidential review of your custody modification case, please contact our law firm now. We have an office in Tampa and we serve parents and families throughout the region, including in Hillsborough County, Pasco County, and Pinellas County.