Undergoing a divorce is never easy, but the process can be especially complicated when children are involved. As a parent, you want to ensure that you are able to spend time with your children, as well as participate in the process of making decisions about their health, education, and religious upbringing, but without a viable custody arrangement, this can become a seemingly impossible task. If, at the time of your divorce, you were unable to secure a parenting plan that you deem suitable, however, there are still ways in which you can modify the existing arrangement. As long as you have reasonable grounds to request a modification with the court, it is really not as difficult of a process as it may seem. To determine whether or not you may qualify, you should start by consulting with a Jacksonville divorce lawyer from Charles E. Willmott, P.A.
When you meet with a legal professional at our firm, we will have the opportunity to review the circumstances of your current arrangement and advise you on how to proceed. The court will only agree to a modification if the changes are aligned with the best interests of the children, rather than those of the parent, so it is important to determine whether or not there has been a significant change in circumstances. For example, you will need to provide evidence that your former spouse has:
- a) subjected your children to domestic violence
- b) neglected their responsibilities as a parent
- c) succumb to an alcohol and/or substance abuse problem or
- d) provided an unstable home environment.
All of the aforementioned reasons would give you a legitimate reason to request a change in your custody arrangement, as you would be able to show that your children's need would be more adequately attended to under your care.
In order to make the process of modifying your parenting plan as easy as possible, it is highly recommended that you sit down with your former spouse and discuss your concerns. If you can both agree on a new custody arrangement, you would then be able to prepare an agreed entry and submit it to the court. Many times, one parent will have objections and/or contest the modification, however, so you should not hesitate to enlist the help of a lawyer who can help you to move forward with a different plan. In order to request a modification without the agreement of the other parent, you must file a Supplemental Petition with the court, showing a substantial change in circumstances. From there, it will be decided whether or not the modification would benefit the best interests of the child.