Your parenting plan, once called a custody order, outlines your obligations to your children and to your ex when you have formal time-sharing after your divorce. Whether you negotiated your own parenting plan or adopted one created by the judge overseeing your divorce, you have an obligation to fulfill your responsibilities under the plan.
Ideally, your parenting plan will make it easy for you to co-parent and support the best interests of your children. As your family circumstances change, you may discover that your parenting plan no longer addresses the right issues and thus requires a change. That could lead to more conflict between you and your ex. Can you update your parenting plan after the courts finalize your divorce?
Florida law does allow for custody modifications
It is generally not advisable for parents sharing responsibilities for their children to privately change the custody agreement without going to court to make those changes official. Whatever arrangements you work out won’t change what the courts view as your individual obligations to the kids.
Only by going through a court hearing and requesting a modification can your actual responsibilities in the parenting plan change. Florida does allow judges to update custody arrangements when family circumstances have noticeably changed. Just like when a judge first creates or approve a parenting plan, they should consider whether the suggested changes will be in the best interests of the children.
When do people qualify for modifications?
Many family circumstances can lead to successful modification requests. A change of employment might affect when a parent is available to provide care for their children. The children moving up to another grade in school or taking on extracurricular activities can also imbalance the division of time-sharing.
Sometimes, strain on the relationship between children and their parents can lead to older children wanting to spend less time with one parent than the other. Parents can also request changes to the parenting plan when they feel that the custody arrangements are unsafe or inappropriate.
Exploring your motive for wanting the change and the circumstances for your family can help you decide if formally modifying your parenting plan is the right step to take.