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When may parents change a child’s visitation schedule?

On Behalf of | May 2, 2022 | Child Custody

According to the Florida Department of Revenue, you may need a court order to modify a visitation or parenting plan established during your divorce. As noted by the Florida Courts website, requests for modifications require showing your circumstances have changed in a “substantial” and “material” way.

If you experienced an unexpected disruption to your daily routines, your parenting plan may need to change to coincide with your new circumstances. Starting a new job, for example, may require more travel time. You must show the court how changing an existing schedule represents your child’s best interests.

A child’s best interests may involve both parents

As noted on the Florida Legislature’s website, the law encourages your child to spend equal time with both parents. The court may not approve changing a visitation schedule that results in a child spending less time with a parent. Modification requests that appear to reflect retaliation for failing to make on-time support payments may not succeed.

A spouse may attempt to block a modification request by introducing evidence of parental alienation or estrangement. According to Psychology Today, a child’s rejection of a parent may reflect an ex-spouse attempting to influence the relationship. Asking the court to arrange for a child to spend less time away from a parent may harm an existing parent-child bond.

The court may not approve all change requests

As noted on the Florida Legislature website, a parent who moves into a recovery residence may not request that their child visit them. If a parent has an addiction, changes to a visitation schedule may need to reflect spending time outside of resident-based treatment.

Sunshine State parents may request new times or days for their visiting schedules or shared parenting plans when circumstances change. Judges, however, may rule on those requests in a manner they believe represents children’s best interests.

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