This is the next post in my series on changing child custody in Melbourne, Florida. My last article explained the requirements necessary to request a custody change. It is important to understand that the Brevard County Courts will only entertain your request if there has been a substantial change of circumstances which was unforeseen at the time of the entry of the last final judgment. Your proposed change must also be in the best interests of the child. If there has not been a change of circumstances then you will not have grounds to go to Court. I will be using this post to discuss the process of changing custody (which is known as “time share” in Florida). If you wish to modify your current arrangement then it is important to contact a family law attorney as soon as possible.
The process of changing custody begins by filing a Supplemental Petition with the Court. This is a formal document in which your lawyer will describe the circumstances which have changed since your last order, why a change of custody is in the child’s best interests, and the new arrangement which you are proposing. Situations constituting “changed circumstances” can include drug use, alcohol abuse, violence, etc. They may also include less extreme circumstances such as a parent’s work schedule having changed, the other parent having moved to a further away location, etc. The other side will be given a chance to file a written opposition to the Supplemental Petition. If the situation involves an emergency or if the child is in a dangerous situation then it is possible to have the hearing expedited and to get into Court quickly.
The Court will hold an oral argument in which each attorney will argue their points. The Court will typically schedule a trial at which the issue of custody is decided. The Court, depending on the circumstances, may also make a temporary change to the current custody arrangement. The temporary order would remain in place until a permanent solution is reached at trial. Other possible outcomes of the initial hearing include the Court simply denying the request (which would end the process and leave the current order in place), the Court outright granting the request (which is rare), or a settlement being reached by the parties before the hearing.
It is important to understand that your Supplemental Petition must state the necessary facts and how the law supports your argument. Also, you need to properly present your case to the Court. Hiring an experienced family law attorney can assist you immensely. Contact my office today to speak with a Melbourne lawyer regarding changing child custody. My office also services clients in the Brevard County cities of Titusville, Cocoa, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and Rockledge, as well as in the Indian River County areas of Fellsmere, Sebastian, Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, and Orchid.