3 signs it may be time to modify a Florida parenting plan

On Behalf of | May 14, 2024 | Divorce

A Florida parenting plan largely regulates the relationship between divorced or separated parents and their children. There is a general expectation that the adults subject to a Florida parenting plan should uphold the terms set in that document in good faith.

Occasionally, parents may need to file a motion requesting a modification of the parenting plan. When is a formal change to parenting arrangements potentially necessary?

A shift in relationships

The factors that judges or parents consider when dividing parenting time include the current rapport between the children and the adults in the family. Someone who has spent more time serving as a caregiver might receive a larger allocation of time-sharing, at least initially. However, if the relationship of the other parent with the children improves as they learn how to be present for their children, that could warrant an adjustment to the existing time-sharing arrangements. On the other hand, a negative change in one parental relationship may also warrant a custody modification. Children may not want to spend as much time with the parent who has started dating someone new or who has developed a drinking issue.

A significant change in schedules

The division of time-sharing often reflects the career demands of the parents and the overall schedule of the children. Factors that change the household schedule might warrant an adjustment of the time-sharing arrangements for the family. Moving on to high school, starting a part-time job or participating in sports could significantly alter a child’s schedule. Getting a new job or starting a new relationship could affect a parent’s schedule significantly. Particularly if the adults need to repeatedly negotiate new arrangements because of shifting family schedules, modifying the time-sharing arrangements could be a smart move.

The needs of the children change

Perhaps one child develops a medical condition or gets injured in a car crash. Their need for more intensive support might warrant a revision of the current parenting plan for the family. On the other hand, perhaps behavioral issues, possibly triggered by the separation of the parents, have caused challenges at school and in interpersonal relationships. When there has been a significant shift in the needs of the children, the best custody arrangements for the family might also shift as well.

Parents can theoretically make adjustments anytime they are able to cooperate about changing the parenting plan. Otherwise, the parent requesting the modification generally needs to establish that changes to their arrangements are in the best interests of the children and that there have been no worthy shifts in family circumstances that make a modification necessary. Formally modifying a parenting plan can potentially benefit everyone in the family. Adults who recognize when arrangements may need to change can protect their relationships with their children and minimize conflict with their co-parents.