Most child custody orders in Florida are modified. Parents often experience a change in circumstances that result in the modification order. Child custody refers to the care, control, and maintenance of a child. Below is a brief summary of Florida child custody and modification laws. The information below also outlines how our Sarasota Florida child custody lawyers can help protect your rights and your interests.
Florida Child Custody Laws
Under Florida law, child custody is determined by the courts in accordance with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. The court considers what is in the best interest of the child when awarding child custody. The court considers the following factors when deciding sole or joint legal and the physical custody of a child:
- The physical, mental, and emotional health of the parents
- The stability of the child’s home environment
- History of domestic violence, child abuse, or neglect
- The child’s desires
- Whether the parent will cooperate and encourage contact with the other parent
- Whether the parent will honor the time-sharing schedule
Sole custody allows a parent to make decisions regarding the legal and physical custody of his/her child without receiving the other parent’s input. The parent must show that the sole custody request is necessary to protect the best interest of the child. Joint custody allows both parents to make decisions in regards to the care of their child. A couple will work together to develop a parenting schedule that is in the best interest of their child.
Physical custody refers to which parent the child will reside with routinely. Sole or joint physical custody can be awarded to the parents. Legal custody refers to a parent’s right to make decisions regarding his/her child’s education, health, and religious practices.
Florida Child Custody Modification Laws
A child custody order can be modified without court approval. A modification will be granted if a parent can prove that there has been a substantial change in circumstances in which a parent is in a better position to care for his/her child. For example, if a parent completes an alcoholics anonymous program and is in a better position to care for his/her child, he/she may petition the court for a custody modification. The change must be a material and unanticipated change in circumstances and in the best interest of the child. The modification can also be requested in the event a parent becomes involved with an abusive partner or spouse. The court may limit the parent’s contact with the child until his/her circumstances improve. Changed circumstances typically include the following:
- Demonstrating that the current living arrangements put the child at risk of physical or emotional harm
- The custodial parent refusing visitation to the non-custodial parent
- The child’s desires upon reaching a mature age
- A parent relocating to another state
- The best interest of the child
Contact our Sarasota Florida child custody lawyers for more information about Florida child custody and modification laws. We can help you obtain or modify a child custody order. Modifying a child custody order is not easy. Consult with an attorney on the best approach to take.
Sarasota County Florida Attorney Meg Lyons proudly serves the greater Orlando, Miami and Sarasota metropolitan areas. This includes Orlando, Clermont, DeLand, St. Cloud, Buenaventura Lakes, Sanford, Oviedo, Lakeland, Longwood, Casselberry, Lake Mary, Apopka, Winter Springs, Altamonte Springs, Daytona Beach, South Daytona, New Smyrna Beach, Port Orange, Ormond Beach, Bartow, Kissimmee, Titusville, Tavares, Volusia, Sarasota, North Port, Venice, Miami, South Beach, Hialeah, Miami Beach, Miami Gardens and North Miami, Florida.