Understanding “Change of Circumstances” Under Florida Law
Under Florida law, proof of a substantial change in circumstances is required if one hopes to modify an original custody agreement, child support orders, or even spousal support orders. The court does not make it easy to modify existing orders, as they typically weigh many factors before finalizing any original orders or agreements. Because of this, they want to see not only that your circumstances have changed, but also that they have substantially changed, since ordering the initial decree. For the sake of this article, we are going to examine the changes in circumstances that might warrant a modification to child custody orders in Florida.
Defining Substantial Change in Circumstance
The Florida courts will consider a modification to an original custody agreement that designates a sole managing conservator if one of the following is true:
- The circumstances of the child or sole managing conservator have materially and substantially changed since the original order was finalized; and
- The appointment of the new sole managing conservator would be a positive improvement for the child.
In order for the courts to determine whether one of the above is true, they would consider several aspects of the child’s well-being, and determine whether or not a modification in the custody agreement would benefit them in the long run. Some deciding factors include:
- Whether or not the managing conservator can adequately provide for the child’s needs, including their unique health needs and handicaps;
- Whether or not there are frequent changes of residence by the managing conservator;
- Whether or not the managing conservator is able to substantially assist the child in reaching age-appropriate educational and social goals;
- Whether or not each party can spend adequate time with and provide adequate care to the child; and
- Each party’s available income, their employment history, whether or not they are currently employed.
Consult a Boca Raton Child Custody Lawyer
At the Law Offices of Schwartz | White, we aim to serve our clients’ best interests, and the best interests of their children. If you believe that your circumstances have drastically improved to the point where you feel comfortable taking on more parenting responsibilities, or if you believe that your child’s other parent’s circumstances have substantially changed for the worse, contact our Boca Raton child custody lawyers to review your legal options. The best interests of your child are our number one concern, and we will do everything in our power to ensure that your custody orders reflect that. Contact our Boca Raton family law offices today at 561-391-9943 to get started.