Modifying a Parenting Plan in Florida
Time marches on, and so do people. No matter how much a person would like to look into the future and find out what will happen, this just isn’t possible. When a parenting plan is drawn up both parties do so with the limited knowledge of what will happen in the future and how each thinks the requirements of shared parenting, including timesharing, will work the best in their particular case. All seems to go well for a while and then there are changes that may occur which can make the parenting plan as written become unrealistic and sometimes even undoable. For this reason, the Florida Family Court provides a way that parents can modify their parenting plan. The modification must be done through the court system in a process similar to a divorce. In other words, there must be a filing, an answer, a mediation (in most jurisdictions), and if no agreement in mediation, a court date will be set.
Wanting a parenting plan modification is not enough reason for the court to consider the issue. There must be three factors in place,
Unanticipated need for change: This means that the reason the parenting plan needs to be modified is for a cause or reasons that did not exist before the final judgment. For example, if a parent knew before the final judgment that his or her job would require a change in living location, which would affect his or her ability to equal timesharing, the need for modification would not qualify.
Material need for change: The need for change must have a solid substance. Some examples of this would be hours of parent’s job change, the physical or mental health of either a parent or minor child becomes severely damaged, a child needs to have transportation at times when a parent cannot reasonably provide it, a parent has shown inappropriate behavior or lack of adequate care for the minor child, the living situation or environment of a parent has become dangerous, or unsafe, pick-up or drop-off stipulations are not working,ora parent has been unwilling to share in the major decision making involving education, medical, religious, and discipline.
Substantial need for change: Essentially, this means that the change desired is significant. A parent who simply finds part of the parenting plan inconvenient would not be able to obtain a modification. If an illness were one where recovery was expected within a reasonable time, or a job relocation required only a few minutes extra commute a day, the modification would not be given.
As each situation is different and there are so many hills to climb when it comes to parenting plan modification, it is wise to discuss the matter with an experienced Florida Family Law attorney and retain his or her services if he or she feels you have a valid case for modification. Should you live in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Miami-Dade, Broward, Hillsborough, or Orange County, Family Law attorney GrantGisondohas over 10 years’ experience and can answer your questions and represent you.He offers a free, initial, in-office consultation to help you decide if a parenting plan modification would be the right thing to do. His office hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and on Saturday from 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM for new clients. You can call his office at 561-530-4568 to make an appointment for your free consultation.