In Florida child custody matters, the court’s paramount concern is always what is in the best interest of the child that is the focus of the case. Thus, any time a party proposes a modification of a parenting plan, the courts must assess whether the change sought will benefit the child; if the court finds that it will not or that it may harm the child, it will generally deny the request. Recently, a Florida court discussed the process of analyzing whether a modification is in a child’s best interest in a child custody case. If you share custody of a child and you or your co-parent intend to seek a modification, it is prudent to confer with a Miami child custody attorney to evaluate your options for seeking a favorable outcome.
Factual and Procedural Background of the Case
Allegedly, almost a decade after coming to an agreement regarding shared parental rights of two minor children, the mother and the father each filed motions seeking modification of the parenting plan. The father argued that the children, who were both teenagers at the time, suffered from parental alienation syndrome (PAS) and offered a social investigation report and numerous articles in support of his position.
Reportedly, to mitigate the PAS, the father asked the court to enroll the children in therapy, and to the extent that proved ineffective, sought a modification of his child support obligation and increased timesharing rights. In response, the mother sought an increase in child support and a decrease in the father’s timesharing rights, or in the alternative, enrollment in a family-based reunification program. The trial court ordered the children to participate in a reunification program and granted the father exclusive custody of the children, concluding without elaborating that participation in the program was in the children’s best interest. The mother appealed. Continue reading ›