Creating a parenting plan or custody order in accordance with Florida law takes time in courts or negotiation between the parents. Your parenting plan provides instructions regarding time-sharing arrangements and helps you share the responsibilities of parenting more easily with your ex. You have an obligation to fulfill your responsibilities to the children and to communicate regarding important matters for the kids.
While you do your best to uphold your existing parenting plan, you may also have good reason to want to change it. Maybe you are about to move to a new position at your company and will have a different work schedule. Maybe your children have started sports or joined the Scout Troop and now have less free time on the weeknights and weekends. You can ask for a modification of your parenting plan to update it to better fit your family circumstances.
What does the modification process involve?
Filing papers with the court
You will need to submit documents to the Florida family courts to request a modification hearing. The information you must provide will include the changes that you hope to make through the modification process.
After filing paperwork, the next step is to serve the other parent. Your ex has a chance to respond. Because you both have an interest in the custody arrangements for your children, Florida law requires that you give your ex advance notice of a possible modification so that they can respond formally to your suggestion. Sometimes, they will agree with the change you want to make, in which case you can move forward with a straightforward uncontested modification.
If they do not wish to cooperate or take issue with the suggested changes, you will move forward with a contested modification request. As with any other custody-related litigation in Florida, a judge will have the ultimate authority to make a decision, and how they rule will reflect what they believe is in the best interest of the children. If your ex fails to respond to your filing within 20 days, then the courts will grant you the modification request by default, in most cases.
Modifications are incredibly valuable to divorced parents. Your ability to maintain a positive relationship with your children in the co-parenting scenario directly relates to your time-sharing arrangements and other details in your parenting plan. Updating your custody order when it no longer reflects what is best for your family will help you make the most of your parental rights when you share parenting time with your ex.