Modification of a Parenting Plan in Florida

modify existing parent plan

Florida requires parenting plans when couples with children divorce. The plan covers the custody arrangements, the parental responsibilities, and a time-sharing schedule. A judge determines whether a proposed parenting plan is in your child’s best interests. Once a judge issues an order approving a parenting plan, a court order is required to modify it. 

If you wish to modify your parenting plan or contest your ex-spouse’s modification, our skilled family law attorneys at The Law Offices of Travis R. Walker, P.A., can help. Our lawyers have an in-depth knowledge of Florida family law and significant experience helping families develop and modify parenting plans. We always fight vigorously for what is best for you and your family.

Why Do Parents Seek the Modification of a Parenting Plan in Florida?

Several things can lead parents to seek modification of a parenting plan, such as a substantial change in their circumstances. For instance, a parent may develop health issues, wish to relocate, change their work schedule, or face other challenges that hinder compliance with the current court-approved plan.

They may also seek changes based on what they believe is in their child’s best interests. Children may need to change schools to meet their educational needs, or an existing plan may require updates as children go through different developmental stages. Suspected abuse or neglect may also lead one parent to seek changes. A child may also strongly prefer changes to the current plan.

In addition, if one parent fails to comply with an existing parenting plan, the other may seek changes. For example, if one parent repeatedly fails to pick up their child, the other may ask for a modification to lessen the disruption of the missed shared time. Conflicts among the parties over other issues may also compel one or both parents to seek changes.

What Are the Legal Requirements and Criteria for Modifying a Parenting Plan in Florida?

Florida’s parenting and time-sharing laws promote the public policy that each minor child has continuing and frequent contact with both parents following a divorce. Thus, the most common custody arrangement is joint custody. An approved parenting plan reflects a judge’s determination of what is in the child’s best interest. 

To modify a parenting plan, you must show a substantial, material, and unanticipated change in circumstances. An unanticipated change is one that the court could not reasonably contemplate at the time of the original plan. However, a substantial change alone will not result in a plan modification unless you show that it is in the child’s best interests. 

Florida law defines some specific substantial changes, such as relocation for 60 or more days. In some situations, such as with abuse or neglect, you can ask for a modification based on terminating your ex-spouse’s parental rights

Our experienced family law attorneys can help you craft your parenting plan modification request to demonstrate a substantial change. Our background in helping families in similar cases helps us make compelling arguments about how changes benefit your child’s welfare.

The Florida Parenting Plan Modification Process

There are several steps to the parenting plan modification process. These steps generally include the following:

Your attorney plays a critical role at each stage of the modification process. They understand what judges look for in a modified parenting plan and how to explain that changes are in your child’s best interest. 

What Possible Challenges Can Arise During the Modification of a Parenting Plan?

Several challenges can arise during the parenting plan modification process, including:

What Role Does the Best Interest of the Child Play in Modifications?

The child’s best interests are the overriding determinant for parenting plans and modifications. Florida judges consider several factors when determining what is in a child’s best interests. Their physical and emotional safety is essential. In addition, the judge will seek to maintain consistency in their lives. Consistency may include the ability of one parent to help keep strong family ties and routines, such as daily schedules for meals and homework. 

Judges also consider each parent’s ability to meet their child’s needs at different developmental stages. When considering how a parent will meet the child’s needs, a judge will examine how much parental responsibility a parent might delegate to a third party. 

If your child has sufficient understanding, intelligence, and experience to express their desires, a judge will also consider their preferences. 

The Role of a Lawyer in Modifying a Parenting Plan

Modifying a parenting plan in Florida is a complex process with several deadlines. Accomplished attorneys can help facilitate the process, keeping negotiations on track and filing the proper paperwork with the court. Your attorney must have significant experience helping people make parenting plans. The knowledge they gain in that process translates into understanding what judges seek when you ask for modifications. 

Partner With The Law Offices of Travis R. Walker

If you have questions about modifying a parenting plan in Florida or are ready to modify your current agreement, our award-winning attorneys can help. 

At the Law Offices of Travis R. Walker, P.A., we have deep knowledge of Florida law and significant experience in all family law matters, with a long track record of positive outcomes. We are proud of the client testimonials, which show our compassion, hard work, and ability to explain complex legal matters.

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