The judge's declaration that your divorce is finalized may come as a relief after months of dispute and negotiating, but there may still be aspects of your case that need periodic modification. One of those is your custody arrangement if you have children. This can happen due to serious changes in your life or a realization that your parenting plan is not working as well as you hoped. Florida state courts detail how this is to be done.
File all forms
Changing your custody arrangement requires the completion and filing of several forms. You will need to obtain and fill out the following:
- Supplemental Petition to Modify Custody
- Notice of Social Security Number
- Child Support Guidelines Worksheet
- Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act Affidavit
You will also need to file a settlement agreement, which can be constructed using sections from other forms.
If your ex-spouse will not agree to appear in court, you will need to serve a summons to him or her and file a Certificate of Compliance with Mandatory Disclosure and Family Law Financial Affidavit within 45 days of the service. If your ex-spouse does not file an answer, you can file a Motion for Default and schedule your hearing. If an answer is filed within 20 days but a counterpetition is included, you should file a Notice for Trial to settle the disputed issues in court.
You may also seek a change if you are in need of temporary relief from child support payments or visitation and parental responsibility. In order to apply for this, you will need to file a Motion for Temporary Support with Dependent or Minor Child(ren).
Complete other requirements
Depending on the court that you are assigned to, you may be required to complete additional assignments. This can include completing parenting courses or a parenting evaluation. These items both reflect the court's desire to put the child's needs first in the arrangement.
In addition, you may also need to complete mediation. Some courts require this, but your circumstance will depend on how your ex-spouse is responding and which forms and answers have been filed.
If you have had a major life change or feel that your current custody arrangements are not working, applying for a change may be the answer. Enlisting an experienced lawyer will increase the chances that you will reach the settlement that is best for you and your children. Contact an attorney today to resolve the matter as quickly and easily as possible.