A parenting plan is a document that specifies how much time children will spend with their parents when they are separated due to divorce or another co-parenting situation. Parenting plans must be created as a part of all divorce proceedings involving minor children in Florida. After a significant length of time has passed after your divorce is finalized, you may find that your parenting plan needs to be updated. You will need to file a formal petition to modify your parenting plan when this happens. Here is what you need to know about changing a parenting plan in Florida.
Reasons To Modify a Parenting Plan
Parenting plans can only be modified when a significant and unexpected change dramatically alters the current time-sharing schedule. Simple disagreements over custody do not automatically qualify for an official modification unless both parents agree on a new arrangement. Below, we discuss the situations that would be eligible for a parenting plan modification.
Change in Health Status
You can modify a parenting plan if you or your former partner are diagnosed with a life-altering illness or disability that greatly impacts your parenting ability. Concerns about a child’s physical or mental health status would also be a reason to modify a plan. The illness must be long-term or chronic. A temporary condition that affects how a child spends time with each parent is not a valid reason to modify a parenting plan.
Children need to belong in safe, nurturing environments. If you suspect abuse or neglect occurs when your child is with the other parent, you can petition to modify the parenting plan and may be awarded sole custody. Other circumstances that may deem a parent unfit include drug addiction, alcohol abuse, or an unstable home environment.
If you or your former partner move to another state or out of your child’s current school district, you will want to modify your parenting plan to more accurately reflect how the child will spend time with each parent. However, as with health statuses, temporary relocations will not justify modifying a parenting plan.
Work Schedule Changes
In certain circumstances, you may be able to modify a parenting plan if your work schedule changes. However, a simple promotion may not be a significant enough change to qualify. To be able to adjust a parenting plan due to a new work schedule, you will need to show that the current work schedule strains how the children spend time with you or your ex-partner.
How to Modify a Parenting Plan
Here are the steps to modify a parenting plan in Florida:
- File a Supplemental Modification of Parenting Plan & Parental Responsibility form, along with other related paperwork, with the family court that approved the original plan.
- Your ex-partner will be served with the request for parental plan modification.
- Mediation may be required in certain circumstances. During mediation, you and your ex-partner will discuss the proposed changes to the parenting plan.
- After mediation, a hearing will be scheduled where you will submit your proposed modified plan. If you and your ex-partner have not agreed on an arrangement, a judge may decide for you.
- A judge will either grant or deny the modification request.
Modifying Child Custody Arrangements and Parenting Plans with Remsen Family Law
Our team at Remsen Family law can help you file a parenting plan modification petition or help you respond to a request for modification from an ex-partner. We are experienced in creating and modifying parenting plans and all aspects of filing for divorce. Schedule a consultation by calling our office at 352-221-9487.