What You Need to Know About Parenting Plan Modifications in Florida

A good parenting plan should be airtight and account for all types of circumstances. It should work for your family regardless of how old your children are. If you feel something is missing or needs to be changed in your filed parenting plan, it’s important to know some of the key requirements for making that change.

In order to modify a parenting plan in Florida, there must be a substantial, material, and unanticipated change in circumstances. Above all, the requested change must be in the best interest of the child. Here is a breakdown of those components.

Unexpected Circumstances

Just like it sounds, an unexpected circumstance couldn’t have been planned for. That means that it was not expected to happen at the time the original plan was ordered by the court.  Any anticipated circumstances will not constitute a change in the parenting plan. 

Examples of situations that the court considers expected parts of life: 

  • Changing jobs by choice
  • New marriage or the birth of a child

Examples of situations that the court considers unexpected:

  • Death of a spouse
  • Career field is completely phased out and requires a completely new career path

In Florida, it is so challenging to make modifications to a parenting plan that even during the initial fallout of COVID-19, cases were dismissed before it was accepted that the COVID-19 pandemic was an “unexpected” or “catastrophic” circumstance that was material in nature. 

Substantial and Material Circumstances

The next requirement that must be met is that the circumstances have changed substantially and are material in nature. A good example of a substantial and material change is when a parent begins using drugs, is in legal trouble, or the child is in danger in that parent’s care. Not co-parenting well with your ex-partner may feel like a substantial and material circumstance, but the court fully expects parents to put aside their differences for the best interest of the child.

The good news is that if both parents are in agreement with the change, no matter how small, making modifications is an easier process. Small items like a change in pickup time can simply be crossed out and initialed on the paperwork. Larger concerns may require the assistance of a lawyer to properly file at the courthouse.

To avoid unlawful petitions to modify your parenting plan, it’s important to find out whether your circumstances qualify as substantial, material, and unexpected.. If you need assistance in determining whether or not you have a case or would like to create a comprehensive parenting plan to avoid requiring future modifications, call Heather Bryan Law, P.A., at (863) 825-5309 to schedule a consultation.

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Heather Bryan Law, P.A.

Our firm has experience defending Floridians against all sorts of criminal charges. Additionally, we are well-equipped to handle emotionally charged family law matters and devastating personal injury cases.

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