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Modification of Child Custody/Visitation
If minor children are involved in your divorce your case is never really "over" until they are no longer minors. During the divorce the custody and visitation issues will hopefully be resolved by agreement of if necessary by the judge. The factors going into that decision will be the then existing circumstances. If in the future a "substantial change of circumstances" takes place those custody and visitation arrangements are subject to modification.
The examples of what kind of change is "substantial" enough to justify a modification are endless. Sometimes a parent will remarry or live with a significant other and the children do not get along with that person. Children grow older and the dynamics of the parent/child relationship change. Sufficient evidence that justifies a modification may include poor grades, acting out at school, getting into trouble with the police, drinking or drugs (by the parent or the children). Actions seeking modification of custody or visitation can be emotionally devastating. Accusations are made and each party blames the other for any difficulties the children are having. Sometimes mental health professionals become involved by providing therapy or conducting evaluations.
Consultation with an experienced expert in family law attorney is necessary to protect you and the children from an unwarranted modification or to obtain a necessary modification.
When the Florida court decides on the issue of child custody and visitation, the gender of the parents is not considered. For example, a mother will not automatically receive custody of the children just because she is the mother. The judge must only consider what is in the best interests of the child. Florida divorce law requires Shared Parental Responsibility. This means that even though the child may live with one parent, the other parent has equal say in raising the child. Each party must be consulted on the education, health, religion, and discipline of the child. And, if the parties cannot agree on these important issues, the judge will make the decisions.
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"A Plain English Guide to Protecting Your Children"
Author: Mary L. Boland, Attorney at Law
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