Divorce can be a difficult process for families to go through. And, of course, there are many issues to review and resolve – many of which involve child custody and visitation. The finalized divorce will provide a court order that indicates the many terms of the divorce, including such things as division of assets and debts, alimony, child custody and parenting plans. Generally, these issues are settled during the divorce – but sometimes they may need to be revisited.
Reasons for Modifications
There are many reasons why a divorce order may require a modification. Sometimes the changes are granted and other times they are not. Generally, the change must be necessary and in the best interest of the child. In other words, making changes simply to satisfy the parent’s wishes are not usually considered necessary and may not be granted. Since children respond best to stability, especially after a divorce, big changes may not always be best for the child. If you are considering a modification request it is best to speak with a qualified divorce attorney to determine whether you have a legitimate request.
Modifications or changes to the divorce order must be made through the family court system. If you have a justifiable need for a modification you must request a hearing. At the hearing you must present evidence that justifies the need for the changes. In situations where the children were very young at the time of the divorce, the court will usually understand that some changes to the parenting arrangement may be required as the child grows and as the circumstances of the parents evolve. However, substantial changes must be proven necessary.
The hearing process allows both parents to provide evidence regarding the proposed request. In many cases, if your former spouse agrees to the changes there will be little to discuss with the judge. In some instances, however, parents are not in agreement as to the proposed changes. Both parents should have legal representation at the hearing to assist in providing evidence to support his or her position on the matter. If the child is now older, his or her desires may be taken into consideration as well. It is best to prepare well ahead of the hearing to ensure a smooth and fair outcome.
Sometimes one parent proposes modifications that the other parent does not agree with. For example, one parent may wish to relocate and bring the child along. This would be a significant change to a shared parenting plan that may have been in place for years. While the parent who wishes to move will need to prove that this is in the best interest of the child, the other parent may need to provide evidence of the opposite. A custody challenge such as this one could arise at any time. Whether you need to make some changes to the divorce order or wish to fight a modification request, you will need the help of a skilled divorce attorney. Your lawyer will help you throughout the process and protect your rights. If you are in need of modifications, contact the Tampa divorce attorneys and family law lawyers at All Family Law Group, P.A. in Tampa Bay at 813-816-2232 for a consultation at no charge or email us.
By Lynette Silon-Laguna Google+