Tampa Custody Attorney

Modifying Custody Orders in Florida: Insights from a Tampa Custody Lawyer

Modifying Custody Orders in Florida: Insights from a Tampa Custody Lawyer

Custody arrangements, once set, are not etched in stone. Life’s circumstances change, and Florida law recognizes that custody orders may need to be adjusted to meet the evolving needs of children and their parents. In this detailed exploration, we’ll discuss when and how to seek changes to custody orders in Florida, with a focus on insights from a Tampa custody lawyer.

Understanding the Basis for Modification

In Florida, to modify a child custody order, the requesting party must demonstrate that there has been a substantial, material, and unanticipated change in circumstances since the original order was issued. This standard ensures that modifications are not made lightly and are in the best interest of the child. Examples of such changes could include relocation of a parent, significant changes in a parent’s lifestyle or health, or alterations in the child’s needs.

The Process of Modifying Custody in Florida

  1. Filing a Petition: The process begins with filing a Supplemental Petition for Modification of Child Custody/Visitation in the same court that issued the original custody order. This petition should detail the changes in circumstances that justify the modification.
  2. Serving the Other Parent: After filing the petition, the other parent must be formally served, giving them an opportunity to respond. This step ensures both parties have a chance to present their side.
  3. Mediation and Court Hearings: Many Florida courts require mediation before a hearing in front of a judge. If the parties can reach an agreement during mediation, it can be ratified by the court. If not, the case will proceed to a hearing or trial where both parties can present evidence and arguments.
  4. Court’s Decision: The court will consider the evidence and make a decision based on the best interest of the child. The judge will evaluate factors such as the child’s relationship with each parent, each parent’s stability and capacity to meet the child’s needs, and any other factor affecting the child’s well-being.

Key Considerations from a Tampa Custody Lawyer

A Tampa custody lawyer can provide crucial guidance throughout the modification process. They can help in several key areas:

  • Legal Strategy: An experienced lawyer can develop a strategy that aligns with Florida law and maximizes the chance of a favorable outcome.
  • Evidence Gathering: A lawyer can assist in collecting and presenting evidence to support the claim of changed circumstances.
  • Negotiation and Mediation: A lawyer with local experience, particularly in Tampa, can be invaluable during negotiation and mediation phases, often leading to amicable agreements without needing a trial.
  • Understanding Local Practices: Custody laws can have nuances that vary by location. A Tampa custody lawyer will be familiar with the specific practices and tendencies of local courts and judges.

When to Seek Legal Advice

It is advisable to consult with a Tampa custody lawyer as soon as you consider modifying a custody order. Early legal advice can prevent unnecessary legal expenses and emotional stress by evaluating the viability of a modification request based on current law and circumstances.


Modifying a child custody order in Florida is a significant legal process that hinges on proving a substantial and unanticipated change in circumstances. Whether you’re facing new challenges or opportunities that necessitate a change in custody arrangements, the guidance of a knowledgeable Tampa custody lawyer can be pivotal in navigating the complexities of the law and ensuring that the best interests of your child are served. Understanding the legal landscape, preparing effectively, and having professional legal representation can make a substantial difference in the outcome of a custody modification case.

Child Visitation Lawyer - Tampa, FL

If you have questions about a prenup agreement or a postnup agreement or require legal assistance in other areas of Family Law in Tampa, Florida such as high asset divorce you may always contact Damien McKinney of The McKinney Law Group to discuss your case further. He can be reached by phone at 813-428-3400 or by e-mail at [email protected].

We now offer online prenuptial agreements. Contact us to inquire further about our online prenup option.