How Can I Change My Florida Child Custody Agreement?

How Can I Change My Florida Child Custody Agreement?Child custody agreements can be complex and emotionally challenging for your family, especially your children. It is important to have experienced attorneys on your side who are skilled at representing clients in and outside of a courtroom. At HAWM law, we understand and appreciate that our clients want competence, diligence, and a swift resolution.

What is a Child Custody Agreement?

In Florida, a child custody agreement is often referred to as a ‘parenting plan’ that involves a ‘time-sharing’ arrangement. A parenting plan is developed and agreed upon by both parents and subsequently approved by the court. If you and your spouse are unable to agree on a parenting plan and time-sharing schedule, the court can determine this for you both. The court’s primary consideration at all times in a child custody proceeding is the children’s best interests. The court can also request that parties involved attend a parenting course.

Some information that is typically included in a parenting plan includes, but is not limited to:

  • How the parties share responsibility for daily tasks associated with raising the children;
  • The time-sharing schedule with details about how the children will spend time with each parent;
  • Identify who will be responsible for specific activities such as health care or school-related matters; and
  • The methods for communication between the parents and with the children.

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.

Ultimately, the primary consideration in a parenting plan is the best interests of the children. State law considers the following factors when evaluating the children’s best interests:

  • The parent’s relationship, including any history of domestic violence;
  • Demonstrated capacity to encourage a close relationship with the children and honor the plan;
  • Division of parental responsibilities;
  • Geographic location of where each parent lives;
  • Moral, mental, and physical fitness of the parents; and
  • Needs of the children.

What is the Basis for Changing a Child Custody Agreement?

Under Florida law, there are certain grounds that qualify for modifying a child custody agreement. The standard is that since the court issued the parenting plan, there has been a (1) substantial, (2) material, and (3) unanticipated change in circumstances. This change in circumstances requires a modification of parental responsibility, visitation, or parenting plan. The modification, as well as the initial plan, has to be in the best interest of the children. Substantial and unforeseen changes can include circumstances such as child abuse or neglect or a parent being unable to care for the children due to substance use or mental health issues.

To modify the agreement, you have to file a petition with the court that outlines the change in circumstances and how the modification will be the best option for the child. After filing, the other parent will be notified and will have the opportunity to contest the modification. This is where an attorney can assist you in mediating those communications and assisting in creating a new parenting plan that works for all parties.

HAWM Law Can Help.

If you are considering modifying your child custody agreement in Florida or have other questions related to your family’s legal situation, reach out to HAWM law today. Our experienced family law attorneys will guide you in navigating these complex matters. Having an attorney on your side can make the process of seeking modification easier by helping to identify the basis for modification and communicating with your former spouse, their legal counsel, and the court. We go above and beyond to ensure you and your family’s best interests are fully protected, contact us to schedule a consultation today.

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