Changing Primary Residence for Child

by Anonymous from Deerfield Beach, Florida, Broward County

After a final judgment 2 yrs ago the father was awarded primary residence, 2 months later my son came back living with me ever since. There has been a tremendous change in circumstances and his fathers living arrangements.

I filed a modification and to change the primary residence back to me. He did not respond and I filed a default and am waiting for a hearing.

He recently called the police and told them my son lives with him. But after the police came to our houses, I showed them my papers I filed, spoke to my 12 yr old and watched his fathers horrible attitude and disrespect the police said my son was to stay where he was being that he has not resided with his father in over 2 years or even the past 30 days.

I have provided full support and the fathers hasn't been around. He says I will not win the hearing and he will take my son from me. he lives in an efficiency with his mother! I need some legal advice and do I have a good chance they will grant me the primary residence back.

Answer to Florida Child Custody Question

Dear Anonymous,

We are not attorneys and cannot offer legal advice and we also cannot predict the outcome of your case. However, Florida courts consider "substantial change in circumstances" and "best interests of the child" when they rule on child custody.

The court considers multiple factors that fall within either or both of these fundamental doctrines. Florida Statutes 61, which governs child custody was revised in 2008. The following is an excerpt:

(3) For purposes of establishing or modifying parental responsibility and creating, developing, approving, or modifying a parenting plan, including a time-sharing schedule, which governs each parent's relationship with his or her minor child and the relationship between each parent with regard to his or her minor child, the best interest of the child shall be the primary consideration.

Determination of the best interests of the child shall be made by evaluating all of the factors affecting the welfare and interests of the minor child, including, but not limited to:

  • The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent- child relationship, to honor the time-sharing schedule, and to be reasonable when changes are required.

From what you have written in your question it seems that you are doing everything that you are able.

Notice: We provide these answers to the general public and our website visitors as a means to further their online legal research. These answers are merely suggestions and should not be regarded as legal advice.

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Comments for Changing Primary Residence for Child

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Seeking Full Custody of My Children
by: connie

My, as of today, ex husband and I have had an agreement that my oldest child will live with him, while our other two children live with me. Recently, things have changed, he has no job, no car, and no where to live. So my son came back to stay with me and he is finally getting settled in again.

How can I go about getting full custody of all three so that he can not snatch my son back when and if he gets on his feet? He has been out of work for five months and was using my sons disability check to by his and his 20yr old girlfriends alcohol.

She is currently in jail and he lives in lake city, fl where he stays here and there. My children and I live in Jackson county. Please help I want my kids to stay settled.

--My suggestion is file a modification of custody due to a "substantial change" in circumstances. See our Custody Modification Forms page for more info. --Staff

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