Can I Modify a Florida Custody Agreement?

Can I Modify a Florida Custody Agreement?Custody agreements can seem daunting. After all, they are ordered by a court, usually following a long legal process. It is easy to understand why people tend to believe they are set in stone. However, while you cannot deviate from the written terms of the agreement, it is possible to modify them. Child custody and child support agreements are created in the best interest of the child. It is understandable that circumstances may change over the course of the child’s lifetime in a way that their interests would be better served by a different agreement or arrangement. Luckily, Florida courts do provide an avenue to modify existing child support and child custody agreements.

Do I Need to Go to Court for All Modifications?

It is important to understand that any changes you wish to make permanently to the existing child custody agreement must be approved by the court. In other words, you cannot deviate from the existing agreement, even with the agreement of your ex-spouse, unless it is simply for a short period of time. For instance, if your spouse tests positive for COVID-19 you can both agree to suspend the normal custody agreement until they test negative, at which point it will resume. However, even this agreement should be in writing as there is nothing to stop the other spouse from notifying the court that you are in contempt of the terms of the agreement. For permanent changes though, modifications must go through the court.

Our family law attorneys are focused on efficiently and effectively preparing clients for the most difficult circumstances. The attorneys at HAWM law have experience dealing with an array of family law matters and can prepare the necessary and often unique strategy and tools that your family may require.

How Can I Modify my Florida Child Custody Agreement?

Courts in Florida will generally allow modifications for one of three reasons. One of these reasons is the mutual agreement of the spouses. In the case that both parents agree to the modification, a family law attorney can draft the new agreement incorporating the modification and then petition the court for approval. This will generally be successful as it is uncontested, however, it will still be evaluated by the court to determine whether the modification is in the best interest of the child. Another circumstance in which modification is permitted is when a final judgment of injunction for protection against domestic violence has been entered against the other parent. Note that unfortunately a single or isolated incident of domestic violence will generally not be considered as a grounds for modification. Finally, when there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the original agreement was made, it can warrant a modification. For instance, if your former spouse has experienced a significant change in income this can warrant an adjustment in child support payments. Likewise, the development of an addiction can be grounds for a change in the custody or visitation agreement. However, an isolated incident of drug use will likely not be found sufficient.

Talk to a Florida Family Law Attorney

If you need to modify an existing custody agreement, or are considering a divorce or major change to your family structure, the experienced central Florida lawyers at HAWM Law can help. Our attorneys will help you navigate the process and develop the best possible strategy for you and your family. Call today to schedule a consultation.

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