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Major Reasons a Judge Will Change Custody

Posted by LEISA WINTZ | Apr 06, 2023 | 0 Comments

Father and son againts a sunset

Child custody is a sensitive issue that often arises in family law cases. The court's primary concern in a child custody case is the best interests of the child. However, circumstances can change over time, and it may become necessary to modify a custody order. In this article, we will explore the major reasons a judge will change custody.

Reasons a Judge Will Change Custody

Physical Relocation

If one parent moves a significant distance away, it may be necessary to modify the custody arrangement to ensure that the child's best interests are still being served. In Florida, a parent who wants to relocate with a child more than 50 miles away from their current residence must obtain permission from the other parent or seek court approval. If the other parent objects to the relocation, the court will consider various factors, such as the reason for the move, the child's relationship with each parent, and the impact of the move on the child's education, medical care, and social life.

Frequent Disobedience of the Custody Order

If one parent repeatedly violates the custody order, such as by failing to return the child on time or withholding visitation, the court may modify the custody arrangement to better protect the child's interests. If a parent willfully violates a custody order, they can be held in contempt of court and may face sanctions or other penalties.

Parent Becomes Incarcerated or Incapacitated

If a parent becomes unable to care for the child due to incarceration, hospitalization, or other reasons, the court may modify custody to ensure that the child is cared for properly. In Florida, a parent who is incarcerated may petition the court for custody, but the court will consider various factors, such as the nature of the offense, the parent's relationship with the child, and the impact of the incarceration on the child's well-being.

Significant Changes in the Child's Needs or Circumstances

If the child's needs or circumstances change significantly, such as if they develop a medical condition that requires specialized care or if they experience emotional distress due to the custody arrangement, the court may modify custody to better meet the child's needs. In Florida, the court may also consider the child's preference if they are mature enough to express a preference.

When Can You Change Custody?

To change custody, a parent must file a motion with the court and demonstrate that there has been a significant change in circumstances that warrants modification of the custody order. In Florida, the court will consider various factors, such as the child's relationship with each parent, the child's needs, and the impact of any proposed changes on the child's well-being.

Child custody is a complex issue that requires careful consideration of the child's best interests. A judge may change custody under certain circumstances, such as physical relocation, frequent disobedience of the custody order, parent's incarceration or incapacitation, and significant changes in the child's needs or circumstances. If you are considering a custody modification, it is important to consult with an experienced family law attorney to ensure that your rights and interests are protected. At Family Matters we have a team of experts that can help you with your case. Call our office at 954-866-2920 or fill in a form for a free consultation.

About the Author


Leisa Wintz originally began her career as a marriage and family therapist. Ms. Wintz went on to attend law school and started practicing family law in 2009. However, she quickly realized that many family law practices lacked the empathy and compassion she believed were necessary in order to achi...


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