With the arrival of summer, many parents in Florida are going to find themselves spending more time with their children. While this can be great, it can also highlight aspects of your child’s life that you didn’t know about, particularly as they relate to time spent with the other parent. If after talking to your child about these issues you remain worried about their safety and well-being, then you might be tempted to withhold your child from the other parent.
You need to be careful about doing that, though, as it may be a violation of your existing custody order. Although you might be acting in what you believe to be your child’s best interests, a willful violation of a custody order could lead to a finding of contempt and a modification of custody being filed against you.
What can you do?
You can be proactive in seeking a custody modification so that you have an enforceable legal avenue for protecting your child. A lot of parents are hesitant to go this route because they feel that they don’t have proper justification, but you can use any of the following situations to demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances that warrants a custody modification:
- Parental substance abuse: Your child’s exposure to parental substance abuse can put them at an increased risk of abuse or neglect. It can also cause emotional and psychological harm, leading to behavioral issues and poor school performance.
- Domestic violence: If your child is exposed to domestic violence in the other parent’s home, then they’re in physical danger. Additionally, exposure to this violence can result in your child demonstrating aggressive behaviors, guilt, and excessive anxiety.
- Changed financial standing: Kids are expensive to raise. If your child’s other parent suffers a financial setback that’s bound to last for a significant period of time, then they might be unable to meet your child’s needs. In these instances, a modification may be warranted.
- Declining health: If your child’s other parent experiences declining health, then they might be unable to provide your child with the care and support they need. This includes when a parent suffers from a mental health issue that makes life challenging. Here, a modification may be necessary to protect your child.
- Parental relocation: Before a custodial parent can relocate with the child, they have to convince a court that doing so is in the child’s best interests. If it’s not, then you might want to seek a custody modification so that you can keep the child close by.
- Criminal activity: Not all criminal activity is going to warrant a custody modification. However, if the criminal behavior is question puts your child at risk, then you should seek to protect them through a modification. Also, if your child’s other parent ends up incarcerated for a criminal offense, then you may need to modify an existing custody order to ensure that you can adequately care for your child.
Don’t delay in protecting your child
There’s simply too much at stake for your child for you to wait to modify custody when circumstances have substantially changed. But before you can successfully pursue a modification, you need to make sure that you have adequate evidence to support your position. That’s why you should be diligent in analyzing the facts of your case and gathering all documentation and witness testimony you can find to support your arguments.