Life is full of surprises. In the blink of an eye, job opportunities, new romances, and medical issues can throw a wrench in any parent’s plan for the future.
Because of this, parenting plans are rarely set in stone. Especially if yours was made years ago when your children were very young, there’s a good chance it will need to be changed at some point in your life. While modifications can be made, changes often need to meet certain criteria.
Reasons for Modifying a Child Custody Agreement
If you want to make substantial changes in your life that also affect your child and co-parent, a judge may need to sign off on them. Some of the most common reasons why people ask for a modification include:
- A significant change in their income or financial situation — this can include the loss of a job, a job promotion, or coming into a significant amount of wealth.
- A change in your child’s financial needs.
- Drug or alcohol abuse. If one party is abusing drugs, they may lose custody or visitation rights.
- The need to relocate. This could include needing to move in order to get a better job.
- One spouse remarries.
Proving “Adequate Cause”
If you want to make a major change to your agreement, you must prove adequate cause. In general, this means the change is good for your child and family, necessary, and/or in the child’s best interest. Simply wanting to make a change is often not enough of a reason.
Examples of adequate cause could be one or more of the following:
- Both parents agree to the modification and want to make the change.
- One parent has abandoned their parental duties.
- One parent has been held in contempt of court and has consistently failed to adhere to the previously agreed-upon parenting plan.
- The child’s safety is at risk if they stay in their current home.
Minor vs. Major Modifications
Modifications can range from subtle changes to life-altering ones.
Minor modifications don’t have a substantial impact on the child’s everyday life. In some cases, the child might not even realize that a change has been made. However, a major modification will affect both the parents and the child.
Are you in need of a modification? Contact us online or call us at (305) 853-9161 today to discuss modifying or enforcing a family court order in Florida.