Florida Court Discusses Modifications of Parenting Plans

The Florida courts typically take great care when developing parenting plans to ensure that any division of custody or timesharing rights is in the best interest of the subject children. As such, if a party wants to alter a parenting plan ordered by a court, they generally must demonstrate that a substantial and continuing change in circumstances has occurred. Recently, a Florida court examined what constitutes a sufficient change in circumstances to warrant a modification in a custody case. If you share custody of your child, and you or your co-parent want to alter the parenting plan, it is wise to consult a Miami child custody attorney to determine your options.

History of the Case

Allegedly, the parties married in 1995. They had two children before the wife filed a petition for dissolution in 2011. The court first conducted a trial on timesharing and parenting issues and then conducted a trial on remaining matters. During the first trial, the wife offered evidence that the husband was diagnosed as a pedophile. Accordingly, she sought sole parental responsibility and asked that the husband have supervised timesharing.

Reportedly, the husband admitted he was attracted to underage boys but opposed the motion’s parenting plan. Based on the admission and other evidence presented in the case, the court found that it was in the children’s best interest to create a timesharing plan that increased the father’s rights upon completion of certain tasks. The court also created other measures for the safety of the children, including the requirement that the father attend therapy.

It is alleged that in 2017, the wife moved to modify the parenting plan on the grounds that the husband’s refusal to continue therapy for his sexual deviance and his participation in risky behaviors constituted a substantial and material change in circumstances. The husband moved to dismiss the motion, and the court found in favor of the husband. The wife appealed.

Changes in Circumstances Sufficient to Warrant Modifications of Parenting Plans

On appeal, the court reversed the trial court ruling, adopting the wife’s assertion that the husband’s disruptive actions and refusal to comply with the safety measures set forth in the parenting plan constituted a material and substantial change in circumstances.

The court explained that the Florida courts have deemed certain parental behaviors adequate grounds for modifying a parenting plan, including failing to abide by the parenting plan, obstructing the other parent’s efforts to promote the health or safety of the children, neglecting the child’s needs, and providing an unstable home life.

In the subject case, the court found that the wife’s assertions, if proven, would demonstrate a change in circumstances adequate to warrant a modification of the parenting plan. Thus, it reversed the trial court ruling.

Meet with an Experienced Miami Attorney

Even if a parenting plan is appropriate when it is developed, changes can happen over time that necessitate a modification of timesharing rights. If you need assistance with a child custody dispute, it is advisable to meet with an attorney promptly. The experienced Miami lawyers of the Law Offices of Sandy T. Fox, P.A. are adept at helping people navigate the complexities of co-parenting, and if you engage our services, we will advocate assertively on your behalf. We have an office in Aventura, and we frequently aid parties with child custody issues in Miami. You can contact us through our online form or at 800-596-0579 to set up a conference.