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When a custody case is set for trial, for a full day how many hours is that? It's a Modification of Custody case.

Orlando, FL |

My case has been going on for 7 months now, and we finally have a trial date for sometime in the 2nd week of Jan. It seems that so little matters to the court. I have text msgs/emails from my ex that prove he violated our agreement, makes dergotory statements about me and it just seems like I have been the better person for these last 7 months and he keeps getting away with lying. What evidence/factors does a judge take into consideration when modifying a custody agreement

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Attorney answers 1

Posted

So that I can best answer your question, can you tell me what the current state of custody is between you and your ex and who is seeking to modify? Have any grounds been stated at this point for the modification? If so, what are those grounds?

Disclaimer: This answer is provided for informational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Actual legal advice can only be provided after completing a comprehensive consultation in which all of the relevant facts are discussed and reviewed.

Asker

Posted

We have 1 son together who has mild Autism (limited speech, tantrums, behavior problems). He will be 6 in Jan. We divorced in December 08 (3 months before he was diagnosed), and we agreed to a 7 on 7 off arrangment. When he was diagnosed I stopped working, and Dad and I moved back in together but were not together. I took care of him full time (on my scheduled time, and Dad's time). I transported him to Dr, therapy appointments etc, and stayed for them. Dad never attended any of these appointments. March 2012, dad and I got seperate homes. I still had our son on both weeks, and dad would pick him up after work which was around 8pm. I went back to work June 2012, and as our son spent more time at his dad's house I noticed a negative change in our sons behavior. So I filed the motion to modify, to where son spends every other Sat-Mon with dad. This of course sparked a war. Since the filing of this petition dad has violated our ROFR, open telephone communication, and makes constant derogatory statements about me in front of our son.

Asker

Posted

Any attorney that I have spoke with that seems that they have a clue on how to handle this case, charges around $250/hr, and I simply cannot afford that. I have been using an attorney to coach me through this process and paying her $250/hr but this case is going on for ever, and I have already spent close to $6,000 on fees and all she is doing is coaching me. Now that trial is upcoming , I know these fees are going to more than likely double so I want to try and take out all of the evidence that isin't even going to make a difference to the judge.

Todd Godwin Cole II

Todd Godwin Cole II

Posted

I understand your frustration. I think, however, you are going about this the wrong way. Rather than trying to take out evidence, you should be trying to collect as much irrefutable evidence as possible. What you are going to want to avoid are the "he said, she said" types of arguments in court which will benefit neither party. If you have clear conclusive evidence of behavior problems after your son has been at Dad's you are going to want to show the judge that. But, what you are saying needs to be backed by the school, other witnesses, etc. and there has to be a lot of corroborating evidence. One thing that you should be doing (if you are not already) is keeping a detailed daily journal of EVERYTHING that goes on with your son. Detailed, factual record keeping will make an impression on the judge. Unfortunately, the one problem you may have in your situation is that a lot of what might help you (e.g., getting a parenting coordinator or a therapist involved) is going to result in more professional fees. I would urge you to trial and avoid trial....you are right, it will be expensive and I think the fallout may only cause additional problems with the relationship with your ex. Would suggest you seriously consider mediation or attempt to reach an agreement outside court with your ex.

Todd Godwin Cole II

Todd Godwin Cole II

Posted

To more directly answer your question....To successfully petition the court for a modification, the parent must demonstrate two things: 1) There has been a substantial change in circumstances, and; 2) It is in the child's best interests to grant the modification. Under Florida law, a "substantial change in circumstances" means a substantial, permanent and involuntary material change. The change cannot be temporary, it cannot be caused by something the parent voluntarily did and the change must be significant enough to warrant the court changing the original parenting plan or custody agreement.

Asker

Posted

Our son has always behaved well at school, his problem behaviors have always been in the home. I have about 6 witnesses that can testify to the change in his behavior when he comes back from dad's. I have been keeping a journal but have been told that a judge is not going to have time to read through 7 months of journal writing. We had mediation and could not agree. Thank you for your advice and your quick response

Todd Godwin Cole II

Todd Godwin Cole II

Posted

I'm truly sorry you are in this situation. I disagree with the advice you received concerning the journal. If you would like to discuss further, feel free to contact my office tomorrow and ask my receptionist to put you on my calendar for a free phone consultation.

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