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When can you modify child custody in Florida?

The time-sharing plan that worked for your family at the time of your divorce or breakup of an unmarried relationship may not work today. An ex's living situation can change, job schedules can change, and the needs of your child can change.

In Florida, you can petition the court for a modification to your time-sharing plan if you can show that there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the date your current plan was ordered. The change must be both significant and unanticipated.

Examples of reasons to change child custody may include:

  • A child's performance in school declines
  • Your ex has become an unfit parent due to drug or alcohol use
  • Your ex exposes your child to sexual behavior
  • Your ex's home environment has become unsafe
  • Your child is a victim of or is exposed to domestic violence
  • Your child is older and would prefer a different time-sharing arrangement
  • You or your ex relocates

For a complete list of the factors Florida courts use to determine child custody, refer to Florida statute 61.13.

To present the most compelling case for a change in time-sharing, it's important to seek legal advice. Florida courts base child custody decisions on the best interests of the children. In other words, the courts are more concerned about what is best for your child rather than what you want. As a result, your reasons for seeking a change in time-sharing should focus on your child's safety and well-being, not your interests.

The Law Firm of Chris E. Ragano P.A. in Tampa provides experienced counsel in matters such as child custody and modifications.

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