Mother and son

What are Grounds for Parenting Time Modification?

In a Florida divorce, the court will set up a custody plan with the goal in most cases being to help ensure that both parents get maximum parenting time with the child. This, of course, will vary based on the best interest of the child standard. The custody plan that worked at the time a divorce was granted, however, may no longer be feasible or work best further down the road. There are many things that can change in life and certain changes may merit a modification in parenting time.

What are Grounds for Parenting Time Modification?

A custody plan will not be altered simply because one or the other of the parents does not like it. A judge may, however, grant a modification to a custody arrangement under other circumstances. For instance, if both parents have agreed to the modification, then a judge may be inclined to grant it. A new parenting agreement must be drafted, approved by both parents, and the request must be submitted to the judge for approval. When both parents are in agreement about the modification, it is often the easiest way to obtain a modification.

A judge may also be inclined to grant a parenting time modification if there has been a substantial change in circumstances. Some changes happen over time and some happen quite suddenly. Regardless of the pace in which the change occurred, a court will consider a request for custody modification if the substantial change merits it based on the best interests of the child. For instance, if there has been a change in the child’s living situation that would mean uprooting the child from a school in which he or she is established and thriving, the court may grant a modification so that the child could continue going to that school.

Modifications can be complicated and may be petitioned under a variety of circumstances. It is not always a parent who is pushing for modification of parenting time. Sometimes, it is the child pushing for the change. After all, the needs and wants of a teenager will be different from that of a toddler. Because of this, a modification of the parenting time schedule may be sought so that those changing needs can be best served. This may be difficult for one or both of the parents to face, but the court can reevaluate the parenting time schedule so that it continues to best reflect things like the emotional developmental needs of the child.

There are also instances where a court may grant emergency relief in the form of a parenting time modification. This will most commonly happen in times when a final judgment for protection against domestic violence has been entered against one of the parents. When such an injunction has been granted, then emergency relief may be granted and sole custody awarded to the parent not subject to the injunction until the injunction has been lifted.

Florida Family Law Attorneys

Is your custody arrangement no longer best serving your child? Talk to the team at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou about seeking a custody modification. Contact us today.