Modification of a child custody agreement is not a matter taken lightly by any court. A party must be able to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that changes have taken place which directly affect the well-being and safety of a child. The child’s best interests will always remain the heart of any custody agreement. While the state of Florida has made it easy to file a modification petition, that does not mean that a Judge will easily grant one.
According to Florida law, a modification to a parenting plan or time-sharing schedule will only be considered when a substantial, and unanticipated change has occurred. This means that the change which has facilitated the need for a modification must not have been pre-planned, or even anticipated in any way when the original agreement was entered. This can include location changes, mental or physical health status, and living conditions, just to name a few. Further, the change must be substantial in nature, meaning that the best interests of the child are affected.
Many times, a parent who is upset with the other will attempt to use custody modification as a means of manipulation to coerce the other parent into doing what he or she wants. This method does not fare well in a courtroom, and ultimately ends up hurting the child mentally and emotionally.
Consulting with a family law attorney when considering filing a petition for modification is recommended. He or she can offer unbiased guidance as to your particular situation, as well as an opinion on whether or not a court battle would or would not end up in your favor.