Was your Holiday Time-Sharing Schedule delivered straight from Hell? If you answered yes, then tis the season to seek a Custody Modification.
The spirit of the holiday season inspires feelings of generosity, joy, and love among people, while the expectations and obligations of the season create feelings of anxiety and agitation. Every year there are countless families that fall victim to chaos caused by broadly written, and loosely followed Parenting Plans. When custody issues collide with holiday frenzy, the destruction to the family dynamic can be astronomical, and irreparable. Fortunately, with the New Year comes the rejuvenating opportunity for families to make changes to their Time-Sharing Schedules that will better suit the individual needs of their families, and also minimize the inevitable aggravations that will come in the Winter of 2014. Tis the Season to Modify your Parenting Plan.
In Florida, Time-Sharing ("Custody") Schedules, or Parenting Plans as they are often called, contain provisions regarding how the parents will share and be responsible for daily tasks associated with the upbringing of the child, what times the child will spend with each parent, who will be the designated parent for purposes of schooling and other decisions, and well as how the parents and the child are to communicate with one another. Parenting Plans contain two (2) major components: Decision-Making Rights ("Parental Responsibility"), and Time-Sharing Rights. Typically, when one or both parents are seeking a modification of the parenting plan, it is because one parent has failed to comply with the terms of the schedule, or other major changes have occurred which necessitate a change in the existing plan. To obtain a modification of the parenting plan, it must be shown that the proposed changes are being made in the child's best interest.
The Courts have three (3) basic options when it comes to the parents' decision-making rights for their children: Shared Parental Responsibility (presumption), Sole Parental Responsibility (where Shared would be detrimental to the child- i.e. due to abuse, abandonment, or neglect), or Shared Parental Responsibility with Ultimate Decision-Making Authority in one parent. It is presumed, typically speaking, that parents are capable of making day to day decisions on behalf of the child. With Shared Parental Responsibility, decisions regarding the child's health and dental care, child care, and education, should be made jointly by the parents, which is believed to be in the child's best interest. One scenario that might warrant a modification of Shared Parental Responsibility to Sole would be if one parent was discovered to have been abusing the children; the abuser should not have the right to make major decisions affecting the lives of the children.
As for the parents' time-sharing rights with the children, they have great flexibility to create a plan that agrees with their respective work schedules, meets the needs of the child, and allows for each parent to have blocks of quality time with the child so that they may enjoy all aspects of parenting. A time-sharing modification may be warranted where one parent continuously does not exercise the time awarded to them.
There are a variety of conditions that would open the door to modifying a time-sharing schedule. It is advisable to have your parenting plan reviewed by an attorney at least every couple of years, and sooner upon the happening of substantial changes in the circumstances of the parents and/or children. When you know your options, you have real choices. So get a jump on the New Year, and consult with a Solaris Law Group attorney today. We welcome the opportunity to assist you with your modification needs.