If your children were young when you and your spouse divorced, you likely assumed that the parenting plan you put in place would need to be modified at some point as your kids grew up. Children's needs change, as do their parents' circumstances.
However, many other situations may warrant a parenting plan modification. For example:
- A parent relocates to another geographical area.
- A parent's job schedule changes significantly.
- The children are no longer safe alone with a parent.
- A child's school or extracurricular schedule has changed.
It's best when parents can agree on the necessary modifications and then get them codified into the parenting plan. You may be happily operating under a different arrangement than the one that's on file with the court. However, if the changes aren't in writing, there's more likely to be confusion, which can impact your kids. Further, if your co-parent decides they no longer like the new arrangement, you've got nothing in writing to enforce it.
If one parent challenges the changes requested by the other one, the person seeking the changes may need to provide evidence to the court of the changes that have occurred since the plan was put in place and how those changes warrant a modification. For example, you may need to provide documentation of a new job schedule, relocation or changes to your child's schedule. If there's an issue with your children's well-being or safety, you may need to seek the testimony of witnesses or experts.
If you wish to seek a modification to your parenting plan and time-sharing arrangements, or if your co-parent is seeking changes, your Florida family law attorney can advise you on the best way to proceed and will work to ensure the protection of your parental rights and the best interests of your children.