Custody Modification FAQs

1. Under what circumstances can I modify custody and visitation arrangements previously ordered by the court?

In deciding whether to permit modification of a court-ordered custody and visitation arrangement, the best interest of the child is the primary consideration. A custody and visitation schedule will not be modified without a showing of a substantial, material and unanticipated change in circumstances and a determination that the modification will be in the best interests of the child. That determination is made by evaluating all of the custody and visitation factors described above.

A parent may seek modification of a custody and visitation arrangement for several reasons, including:

  • Long-distance relocation
  • New work responsibilities that alter a parent's ability to care for the child
  • Noninvolvement in a visitation arrangement
  • Hazardous conditions such as child abuse or domestic violence

2. Will my child's preferences be taken into account?

An older child's personal preferences may be considered in the child custody modification process. However, the judge will ultimately do what he or she believes is in the child's best interests, even if this does not coincide with the child's preferences.

Furthermore, a child's wishes will likely be disregarded if a parent has made an effort to bribe or coerce the child.

3. I suspect my child is in danger. What should I do?

If you believe your child's environment puts him or her at immediate risk, you can apply for an emergency custody order. The state of Florida will quickly step in and place the child in the care of a qualified guardian.

Emergency custody orders are common in cases of child abuse or neglect.

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