Child custody, or time-sharing under Florida law, is often a point of contention in divorces. Parents may struggle to agree on an equitable time-sharing plan. In Florida, courts may create a custody plan if parents cannot come to an agreement. Depending on the circumstances, one parent may receive more time with their children than the other parent. There are different types of time-sharing arrangements in Florida, including majority time-sharing, equal time-sharing and supervised time-sharing.
Courts look at many factors when creating a custody arrangement, such as the child’s preference or how well-equipped each parent is to provide for the child’s needs. Ultimately, the court is concerned with the best interests of the child. There are scenarios where it is possible to modify an existing child custody arrangement. Our West Palm Beach divorce lawyer explains some of those scenarios in the sections below.
When You Can Change a Time-Sharing Plan in Florida
Florida courts will not change a child custody arrangement because one parent is unhappy with the terms. However, there are three scenarios where it may be possible to alter a child custody agreement:
- Both parents agree to a modification. If you and your former spouse agree to modifications, then it may be possible to alter the terms of a custody agreement. However, if the divorce court made the initial agreement, then you must receive the judge’s approval to proceed with the new plan. If you can come to an agreement with your former spouse, then you can draft, sign (in front of a notary public) and submit the plan to the court. This is likely the easiest avenue for changing an existing child custody plan.
- Domestic violence occurred. If your former spouse abused you or your child and you had to seek a protective order, then it may be possible to have the court change the custody agreement. If you sought a protective order, then you may be able to receive an emergency hearing for a modification. Our West Palm Beach divorce lawyer can help you determine if this option is available for your situation.
- There was a major change in life circumstances. A major illness, injury or substantial change in life circumstances may necessitate changing a child custody agreement. For instance, if one parent developed a drug addiction and could no longer care for a child, it may be possible to modify a custody plan. Not all life changes are “substantial” and the court may not always agree to a modification. Our Florida family lawyer can review the specifics of your case to help you determine if this is an option.
What If Parents Cannot Agree to a Child Custody Modification?
When parents cannot come to an agreement, one parent must be able to convince the court to alter the child custody arrangement. In cases where there was a major change in life circumstances or domestic violence, it may be possible to seek a modification.
If you want to explore whether it would be possible to modify an existing plan, then we encourage you to contact us. During a consultation, we can explain your possible options for obtaining a modification. Our West Palm Beach divorce lawyer can also represent you at a court hearing if necessary.