Divorced or separated parents in Florida need to reach a time-sharing arrangement with one another. If they cannot agree to a division of time with their children, then a judge can make those determinations for their family. A Florida parenting plan approved by the courts should include a specific breakdown of parenting time.
Some adults split time with their children almost completely in half, but others may have a less even time-sharing arrangement. The parent who spends less time with the children may hope to increase how many overnights they have. When is it possible to modify time-sharing terms when the Florida courts have approved a custody order?
When someone’s circumstances improve
Uneven allocations of parental responsibility often reflect the inability of one parent to fully meet the needs of the children. They may have health challenges, substance abuse issues or housing concerns that limit their ability to meet the needs of the children. When someone undergoes treatment, obtains a more stable living environment or addresses other issues that affect their parenting ability, they may have grounds to request a modification that increases their parenting time.
When their relationship with their children improves
Particularly when the children in the family are older, a child’s preferences could influence the terms that the parents set or that a judge decides would be in their best interests. After the initial emotions from the divorce or separation taper off, parents may develop a healthier and more positive dynamic with their children. That improved dynamic might then lead to changing preferences, including a desire to spend more time with a parent previously given limited time-sharing rates. If the young adults in the family are eager to spend more time with one parent, that can influence what the parents decide to do or what the courts agree would be in the child’s best interests.
When there are issues at the other home
Ideally, modifications are the result of someone improving their personal circumstances. However, some people need to ask for more time with their children because the other parent has failed to consistently meet their needs. Those who have documentation of abuse or neglect occurring on the other parent’s time may be able to ask the courts to increase their time with the children to protect them from an unstable situation.
If the parents do not agree on the terms for a time-sharing modification, then a judge will review the situation and decide what they think would be best for the children. Gathering documentation and presenting one’s case in a thoughtful manner can make a major difference for those seeking more time with their children in a shared custody scenario.