This column was contributed by a association member.
Your ex-husband or ex-wife has primary aegis of your child, and now you anticipate it is in your child’s best absorption that you accept primary custody. Whatever has afflicted in your life, the added parent’s life, or the child’s activity has to be advised a substantial change in blow for that to happen.
Let me alpha off with a few clarifications on agreement that are acclimated in the attorneys but not in accustomed life. First, the appellation “custody” does not abide in Florida any best for ancestors law cases. Florida now uses the appellation “time-sharing” and establishes a time-sharing agenda rather than a appearance schedule.
When you aboriginal adjourned the agreement of your annulment or had a balloon on your annulment (or ancestors case) and the custody/time-sharing agenda of the accouchement was at issue, both parents were on according footing, theoretically, beneath the law. You either agreed or the cloister bent that your child’s best absorption was best served by blockage a majority of the time with you or the added parent.
Now, six months, two years, bristles years, or added accept passed, and there accept been changes in affairs area you accept you are in a bigger position to booty affliction of your adolescent than the added parent.
After an antecedent aegis assurance was bogus (for earlier divorces) or a time-sharing agenda was accustomed (for added contempo divorces), the best absorption of the adolescent is not the aboriginal aspect of time-sharing the cloister will accede to adapt the time-sharing/custody.
Rather, you charge aboriginal appearance a substantial change of circumstances. Section 61.13, Florida Statutes, accurately states: “A assurance of affectionate responsibility, a parenting plan, or a time-sharing agenda may not be adapted afterwards a assuming of a substantial, material, and hasty change in affairs and a assurance that the modification is in the best interests of the child.”
There are three analytical words:
The easiest appellation to ascertain is the appellation “unanticipated.” If the parties knew of the affairs at the time the aboriginal annulment was entered, and now one affair wants to use it adjoin the added affair at a afterwards time, the altitude were anticipated. For those that accept admission to cloister opinions, the cases of Paskieicz v.Paskiewicz, 967 So. 2d 277 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2007), and the Florida Supreme Cloister case of Wade v. Hirschman, 903 So. 2d 928 (Fla. 2005), are insightful. For example, if you knew the added ancestor had a actuality corruption botheration at the time the antecedent aegis adjustment was entered, you cannot again six months afterwards affirmation you are the added fit ancestor because of the added parent’s actuality corruption problem.
As to “substantial” and “material,” your judge’s analogue of these agreement are actual important. As the Florida Supreme Cloister stated, the balloon court’s assurance on what changes are abundant and actual backpack a lot of weight in the final assurance on whether the cloister can again accede the best absorption of your child.
However, what we do apperceive is that afore you adjudge you appetite to change time-sharing, you charge to accept a lot added affirmation than artlessly assertive that your adolescent will be bigger off. Some instances area I can anticipate a abundant change in affairs would accommodate a ancestor who develops an addiction problem, enters into an calumniating accord in which the adolescent is apparent to the abuse, or area the ancestor continuously interferes with the added parent’s time-sharing. These are substantial, actual to the child, and were unanticipated.
I accept apparent changes in aegis in which a mother keeps the adolescent out of academy for continued periods of time and grades suffer; smoked about a adolescent with asthma; or bootless to accumulate the adolescent apple-pie of lice on assorted occasions. I accept additionally apparent a abundant change in which the mother was in an blow that larboard her clumsy to affliction for the children; the mother was absorbed to pain-killers; the ancestor larboard the accompaniment afterwards cloister permission; and area the mother bogus a calm abandon dispute.
Similarly, I accept apparent a cloister debris to change aegis back the “primary” ancestor chock-full seeing her adolescent for seven months for biologic rehabilitation; area there were abandoned calm abandon issues; and area a ancestor added her booze burning to a alarming level, but again accustomed counseling afterwards the cloister became involved.
To get started on your own, the forms to adapt your time-sharing agenda are available online (along with every added ancestors law anatomy you may need), including an commodity on representing yourself. However, because the agreement “substantial” and “material” are accountable to interpretation, you should argue with an advocate a about the board in your case.
You can acquaintance your local bar association for a barometer to a able advocate in modifications. Added assets to acquisition answers to your questions accommodate Bay Area Legal Services and Pinellas County’s award-winning Self-Help Center that is accessible to anyone. You can additionally acquaintance the Florida Bar Barometer Service.
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