If you are a divorced or separated parent and you want to modify your visitation rights in Fort Walton or throughout the state of Florida, there are a few things that you need to know. The process of modifying visitation rights can be complex and there are a number of factors that are considered when the judge is hearing the case to modify the current visitation structure. If you want professional representation to give you the best chance of getting the results you want, Kenny Leigh and Associates serves all of North and South Florida with offices in Fort Walton Beach, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Boca Raton, Daytona and Fleming Island. Kenny Leigh and Associates is a family law firm that represents men only.
The Process of Modifying Visitation Rights
Although any major changes in visitation rights in Fort Walton will probably require a hearing, there are some instances where you can make changes to visitation structures without having to go to court. For example, if the changes in the visitation structure are small and both parents can agree upon them, then the court will usually approve them once submitted. For example, if you are requesting changes, such as the day of the week that visitation occurs, the times of the visitation or changing the locations where the child or children will be picked up or dropped off, these minor changes can usually be approved simply by submitting them to the court, if both parents are in agreement.
In the case that changes to the visitation structure are being contested, the court will have to intervene. Even in the case of major changes, the court may not be required if both parents have agreed to the visitation changes and they submit the changes to the court. However, if the changes are being contested, then there must be a hearing to determine if the changes will occur and how the visitation structure will be modified.
However, in cases where the court has to become involved, the court will do its very best not to disrupt the stability and routine that a child is used to, and so the changes in the visitation must be in the best interests of the child, or the court may not agree. If both parties are in agreement that the changes are best for the child, then the court will usually not interfere. It is only in cases where there is dissent that the court will use its power to make decisions on visitation rights in Fort Walton or elsewhere.
Factors That Can Affect Visitation Structures
There are a number of factors that the court may look at when deciding whether or not to modify visitation rights for one parent or the other. As previously mentioned, if there is not agreement between both parties, the court will decide what is in the best interests of the child and determine whether or not to approve visitation changes. For big changes, there are various factors that are weighed by the court.
If the child is in danger, the court will usually change the visitation rights. For example, if one party petitions the court to revoke visitation for the other party because the child is being neglected, abused or simply not looked after when they are visiting, the court will weigh all those factors and determine whether or not to revoke or change the visitation rights. Factors like domestic violence, alcohol use or substance abuse may all be factors that are considered.
If the visitation schedule is not working for one of the parties, the court may consider changing the order. For example, if one party needs to change visitation hours or days, the court will weigh the damage to the child's routine against reduced time with a parent and decide whether or not to make the changes. The court may also order changes to visitation rights in Fort Walton or elsewhere if one party is not cooperating with the current visitation structure.
Other major factors that the court will consider include the death of one of the parents, the relocation of one or more parties, and the child's desire to live with one parent or another.
If you need help with visitation rights in Fort Walton, Kenny Leigh and Associations has six offices throughout North and South Florida: Fort Walton Beach, Gainesville, Boca Raton, Daytona, Fleming Island, and Jacksonville. You shouldn't try to modify your visitation rights alone if the other party does not agree. Having representation can help you to secure the changes to the visitation structure that you desire, even if the other party is opposed.