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Modifying A Parenting Plan In Florida

Even the best parenting plans and time sharing schedules may need to be modified as a child grows up and has different needs. Modification may also be necessary when the parents’ lives change and require them to make adjustments to accommodate other responsibilities. Some parents prefer to make adjustments informally, for example by exchanging weekends or exchanging holiday parental time. While these kinds of occasional changes can be handled informally, if the parents are constantly making information changes to the parenting plan ordered by a court, it may be time for a formal modification of the court order.

If the parents went through a divorce, or were unmarried and went to court for determination of time sharing and child support, there is a formal order entered by the court regarding timesharing and parental responsibility of the child. This court order can be enforced when one parent fails to follow it, and it is therefore important to ensure that the parents are following the order as written, and seek modification if the order no longer works.

Generally, modification of a parenting plan and time sharing schedule requires a showing of a substantial, material, and unanticipated change of circumstances. Parents can also ask to modify a parenting plan or time sharing schedule by agreement. A modification by agreement is easier to get than a modification due to changed circumstances. Whether seeking modification by agreement or due to changed circumstances, the parents have to prove to the court that the modification is in the best interests of the child.

It is not possible to list every event that would be determined to be a substantial, material, and unanticipated change in circumstances by a court. This is because this determination is case specific. One factor that may be considered changed circumstances is a parent’s refusal to abide by the original order. It is possible to get a gauge of whether or not the changes in a particular case would be enough for modification by speaking to an experienced family law attorney.

In proving the best interests of the child, parents should remember that there is a presumption that it is in a child’s best interest to have both parents in his life. Unless a parent puts the child in emotional or physical danger, it is likely that the parent will be allowed to have a relationship with the child, and receive some degree of time sharing.

In order to prove to a court what is in a child’s best interest, the parents may present evidence from other people in the child’s life. This may include grandparents, teachers, and other caregivers. In addition, parents can introduce evidence from mental health providers or counsellors who have worked with the child and can attest to the need to modify a parenting plan in order to protect the child.

Contact an Experienced Timesharing Attorney

If the parenting agreement and time sharing schedule that was ordered as part of your divorce is no longer working for you and your child, and you want to seek modification of the order, you need to speak to an experienced family law attorney. For more information, contact our experienced child custody lawyers at the Law Offices of Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida.

Resources:

leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0061/Sections/0061.13.html

faculty.law.miami.edu/mcoombs/documents/wade.pdf

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