Florida Court Discusses Grounds for Changing a Parenting Plan

Generally, when a couple with children divorces, the courts will find it is in the best interest of the children for both parents to have custody rights. Typically, the courts will issue an order setting forth a parenting plan establishing when each party has physical custody of the children. The plans generally may be modified, but only if the party requesting a change demonstrates that it is warranted and that it is in the best interests of the children, as discussed in a recent Florida ruling. If you need assistance protecting your parental rights, it is prudent to speak to a Florida child custody lawyer to discuss your options.

Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that the husband and wife divorced in 2016. They had two minor children, and the divorce decree set forth a parenting plan that granted the wife the majority of time-sharing rights and granted the husband time-sharing on alternating weekends and Wednesday nights and set forth a standard holiday and summer schedule. The husband filed a motion asking the court to hold the wife in contempt and for the appointment of a parenting coordinator.

It is alleged that in support of his motion, he argued that his schedule as an emergency room surgeon made it difficult to adhere to the schedule, and the wife was unwilling to compromise. The court held a hearing and then ruled that the husband should be allowed to change one of his weekends each month as long as he gave the wife advance notice. The wife appealed.

Grounds for Changing a Parenting Plan

The Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure states that an action to modify a parenting plan must be instituted by a supplemental petition for modification rather than a motion. In the subject case, the appellate court noted the husband failed to comply with the proper procedure, which constituted a reversible error. The appellate court stated that the trial court’s failure to enforce the procedural requirements in and of itself was grounds for reversal.

Further, the Florida Statutes state the courts must determine all matters pertaining to parenting and time-sharing with regard to what is in the child’s best interest and that a modification of a time-sharing schedule requires a showing of material, substantial, and unforeseen change in circumstances. In the subject case, the appellate court found the trial court failed to conduct an analysis on either issue as required by the law. Further, the husband’s schedule did not change from the time the subject order was issued. Thus, the trial court’s ruling was reversed.

Meet with an Experienced Miami Family Law Attorney

In evaluating whether a parenting plan should be modified, the court’s primary focus is always what is in the best interest of the child to which the plan pertains. If you need help with a custody modification issue, it is smart to meet with an attorney as soon as possible. The experienced Miami attorneys of the Law Offices of Sandy T. Fox, P.A., are adept at helping people fight to protect their parental rights, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. We have an office in Aventura, and we regularly aid people with custody matters in Miami. You can reach us through our form online or at 800-596-0579 to set up a conference.