When matters pertaining to child custody modifications are involved in a legal dispute, Chapter 61 of the Florida Statutes directs the court to consider the family’s change of circumstances to warrant modification to the existing child custody order. Florida family courts consider whether both parents meet the child’s developmental needs and his or her educational and social development requirements. As the court must determine the arrangement that is in the best interests of the child, each parent’s ability to maintain a stable, loving household in Coral Springs must be considered.
Child custody modification issues are frequently litigated or otherwise negotiated in terms of time-sharing and assignment of parental responsibility. Florida law assumes without evidence to the contrary that both parents will both maintain responsibility for the care of children:
Initial determinations of visitation and child custody were made by the court based on information that was available at the time of the divorce. Children’s needs, interests, goals, and desires change over time. The child’s view of his or her parents may also change over time. As the child grows, he or she may favor spending more time with a particular parent:
Each parent should inform his or her child custody attorney about any mutually agreed upon change to the parenting plan. The agreement should include a written document that records the changes. Both parents, along with attorneys, should review and sign the agreement. The parties should file the original signed document with the court to protect against the possibility of one party later filing a claim that argues no such agreement existed.
Life-altering changes may occur after the divorce is finalized. Some may be significant enough to modify the custody order, including a currently unsafe, unhealthy or unfit living arrangements (including substance abuse, abusive relationship, or lack of appropriate supervision of the child), changes in parent work schedules, parental relocation with a child, special medical needs of the child, school change, or if one or both parents fail to comply with the visitation schedule.
If a parent seeks to move out of state with the child, he or she may not relocate without a court order. If the parent wants to move with a child more than 50 miles from his or her current location, he or she must seek relocation approval.
A child custody attorney in Coral Springs can help parents protect their rights. While some custody situations are less contentious than others, parents are advised to avoid making informal agreements with a former spouse to modify custody or visitation arrangements. Without approval from the court and receipt of a formal modification, parents are should not expect to secure new, legally enforceable visitation or custody arrangements.