Can You Modify a Parenting Plan in Florida?
Florida law requires that parents who are separating complete a parenting plan that will outline custody, time-sharing, and decision-making authority. It’s important to keep the overall goal in mind when creating the parenting plan — you want to come up with an agreement that provides stability and routine for your children.
However, as your child ages, their needs can change. And, if your circumstances as a parent change, it can warrant the need to modify your existing arrangement. While everyone can benefit from a different parenting plan in these situations, the change must be in the best interests of the child. It may not be super easy to go about getting it modified, especially if one parent doesn’t agree.
There are special circumstances where you or your ex-spouse may need to request a modification to the existing parenting plan. Some situations that may warrant a modification include:
- Refusal to honor the current time-sharing schedule
- Substantial or permanent unforeseen change
These are only potential scenarios, it’s important to speak with a knowledgeable Florida child custody attorney who can advise whether your individual situation warrants a request for modification.
Methods of Modifying the Parenting Plan
The easiest method of modifying the parenting plan is through agreement. This is easier than getting one based on changed circumstances. Either way, parents still have to prove that the modification is in the child’s best interests. Remember that the court is going to presume that it’s in the child’s best interests to have both parents in his or her life. Unless there is a serious reason that one parent shouldn’t be involved, like one parent puts the child in danger, the court is very likely going to allow him or her to continue having a relationship with the child.
Parents are allowed to present evidence from those in the child’s life to help prove what is in his or her best interest. This information can come from caregivers, grandparents, and teachers. You can also include evidence from mental health professionals who’ve worked with your child and are willing to attest that there needs to be a modification in the parenting plan.
In situations where one parent is not honoring the agreement, it can help to present a custody journal. This is a written record that details problems that are going on with the existing custody agreement. If you can prove the other parent is unfit, the court will make a change to the agreement.
On the flip side, when parents reach a compromise on their own on how to share custody, they can draft a new parenting plan together. It needs to be filed with the court, and in most cases, the judge will approve it.
Retaining a Florida Child Custody Attorney
If you need assistance with modifying an existing parenting plan, or you need to create an initial one, it’s important to speak with an experienced Florida child custody attorney. For more information, contact the family law attorneys at the Law Offices of Schwartz | White at 561-391-9943 to schedule a consultation.