Once a parenting plan is put in place by a Florida court, it will remain enforceable unless the court sees fit to change, replace, or cancel it through a subsequent official order. This means that if your circumstances change enough that you or your co-parent want to adjust your plan, you will need a court’s permission to do so without putting yourself at risk of serious legal repercussions.

Going through this process could be much easier and more efficient if you have support from a seasoned Miramar child custody modification lawyer. From drafting a new parenting plan to complying with Florida’s requirement for modification proceedings, your dedicated child custody attorney could be an invaluable ally during every step. Contact McKinnon Legal to get started.

When can a Custody Order be Modified?

There are only three valid grounds on which a court in Miramar will agree to modify an existing child custody order, all of which a capable attorney could explain in more detail during a confidential consultation. The most straightforward means of getting a modification is for both parents to jointly draft a new parenting plan with help from separately retained legal counsel and then submit that proposal together to a judge. Assuming the new order does not infringe on the child’s best interests, the court should approve it without too much issue.

Alternatively, if only one party wants to seek a modification, they can establish that a substantial and unanticipated change in circumstances has made the existing order no longer appropriate to serve the child’s needs best. Examples of “substantial” changes in this context might include a significant injury or illness, one parent having to relocate for work, or a serious issue with the other parent’s capacity to safely raise the child.

A parenting plan can also be modified based on an injunction for protection against domestic violence. Depending on the circumstances, emergency relief provided through a protective order may include changing custody arrangements to grant parental responsibility to the individual who petitioned for that relief.

Steps to Modifying a Parenting Plan Through the Court

Regardless of the specific grounds for a modification, the parent seeking the change will need to include a proposed new timesharing agreement. This plan must be superior in terms of how well it serves the child’s interests. It should also cover where the child will primarily live, how parental responsibility will be shared, what visitation rights each parent has and under what circumstances, and how timesharing trades will be conducted.

Factors that courts may consider when deciding what supports a child’s best interests may include:

  • The child’s physical and emotional safety
  • The support the child will receive for educational, moral, and emotional development
  • Evidence of domestic violence
  • Each parent’s capacity to place the child’s needs above their own
  • Lays out the substantial change in circumstance since the last order that would warrant a modification
  • Existing family and community connections, including continuity at school
  • Any violations of the previous agreement committed by either parent
  • Each parent’s financial and emotional capacity to care adequately for their child
  • The child’s wishes, in some cases

A child custody modification attorney in Miramar could help emphasize certain factors over others in pursuit of a preferred final case outcome.

Seek Help from a Miramar Child Custody Modification Attorney

Changing a timesharing agreement can be challenging in multiple contexts, particularly if you are not on the same page with your co-parent about what changes are needed. Having experienced legal representation could be vital to bridging that gap and streamlining this sensitive process.

A conversation with a Miramar child custody modification lawyer could help you understand your rights, obligations, and possible next steps. Call today to schedule a meeting.