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Increasing Your Parenting Time After Your Health Has Stabilized Is More Challenging Than It Sounds


Millions of Americans are living with chronic illnesses; this number includes people of all ages, including parents of minor children.  Your health history plays a role in your divorce case to the extent that your medical expenses and ability to work are factors affecting equitable distribution and spousal support awards.  How your illness affects your parenting time varies from one family to another; factors include your diagnosis and the age of your children.  For example, if your doctor has advised you not to drive because of a prescription medication that you will need to take for the foreseeable future, the parenting plan will make transporting the children to and from your home at the beginning and end of visits with you the responsibility of your ex-spouse or another family member.  What happens when your condition improves?  From a legal standpoint, the fewer changes to your children’s routine, the better.  Your illness going into remission does not count as a change of circumstances that warrants modifying the parenting plan; instead, you just get to enjoy your good health and the number of parenting days per year that the court currently awards you.  If a serious health condition of yours influenced the court’s decision about your parenting plan, and you want to increase your parenting time now that your health has improved, contact a Palm Beach County child custody lawyer.

Feeling Better Improves the Quality of Your Parenting Time but Not the Quantity

Anna and William divorced in 2014, and their parenting plan indicated that the couple’s three children would spend every other weekend with their father.  Shortly after the divorce, William sought treatment for a mood disorder, since his depression and frequent angry outbursts had contributed to the breakdown of the marriage.  With a course of treatment that included counseling and medication, William’s mental health improved, and two years later, confident that his health was stable, he sought to modify the parenting plan so that he could spend more time with his children.  He argued, in his petition, that his relationship with the children had improved since he had begun treatment.  The court refused to grant his request; an improvement in his health did not constitute a substantial change in circumstances that warrants modifying a parenting plan.

When Improvements in Your Health Affect Your Parenting Plan

If the court has ordered supervised parenting time for you, then an improvement in your condition that lasts for several months can be enough to restore your unsupervised parenting time.  As a rule, courts must review supervised parenting arrangements every six months to determine whether it is safe to restore the parent’s unsupervised parenting time.

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

Courts do not take the decision to disrupt children’s established routine lightly; a Boca Raton child custody lawyer can help you present a compelling case for changing your parenting plan to give you more time with your children.  Contact Schwartz | White for help.



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