Post-judgment relief is different from when you initially established parental responsibility and time-sharing. Either the court made a determination, with broad discretion, as to parental responsibility and time-sharing, or the parties entered into an agreement, which they intended to be bound by. This Parenting Plan, or the older Settlement Agreement, was made part of the final judgment of divorce or paternity and the parties were ordered to comply with the terms and conditions of the Parenting Plan or Settlement Agreements.
When asking the court to change the Parenting Plan or Settlement Agreements, there must be a substantial, material change in circumstances not contemplated at the time of the Final Judgment ratifying the Parenting Plan or Settlement Agreement. The change in circumstance must be significant and material to warrant a change in the parental responsibility and/or time-sharing schedule, and the change in the parental responsibility and/or time-sharing is in the children’s best interest. Modification of a time sharing agreement or parenting plan is provided under Florida Statute §61.13.
Determination of the best interests of the child shall be made by evaluating all of the factors affecting the welfare and interests of the particular minor child and the circumstances of that family, including, but not limited to:
(a) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship, to honor the time-sharing schedule, and to be reasonable when changes are required.
(b) The anticipated division of parental responsibilities after the litigation, including the extent to which parental responsibilities will be delegated to third parties.
(c) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to determine, consider, and act upon the needs of the child as opposed to the needs or desires of the parent.
(d) The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
(e) The geographic viability of the parenting plan, with special attention paid to the needs of school-age children and the amount of time to be spent traveling to effectuate the parenting plan. This factor does not create a presumption for or against relocation of either parent with a child.
(f) The moral fitness of the parents.
(g) The mental and physical health of the parents.
(h) The home, school, and community record of the child.
(i) The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, under-standing, and experience to express a preference.
(j) The demonstrated knowledge, capacity, and disposition of each parent to be informed of the circumstances of the minor child, including, but not limited to, the child’s friends, teachers, medical care providers, daily activities, and favorite things.
(k) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to provide a consistent routine for the child, such as discipline, and daily schedules for homework, meals, and bedtime.
(l) The demonstrated capacity of each parent to communicate with and keep the other parent informed of is-sues and activities regarding the minor child, and the willingness of each parent to adopt a unified front on all major issues when dealing with the child.
(m) Evidence of domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect, regard-less of whether a prior or pending action relating to those issues has been brought. If the court accepts evidence of prior or pending actions regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect, the court must specifically acknowledge in writing that such evidence was considered when evaluating the best interests of the child.
(n) Evidence that either parent has knowingly provided false information to the court regarding any prior or pending action regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect.
(o) The particular parenting tasks customarily performed by each parent and the division of parental responsibilities before the institution of litigation and during the pending litigation, including the extent to which parenting responsibilities were undertaken by third parties.
(p) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to participate and be involved in the child’s school and extracurricular activities.
(q) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to maintain an environment for the child which is free from substance abuse.
(r) The capacity and disposition of each parent to protect the child from the ongoing litigation as demonstrated by not discussing the litigation with the child, not sharing documents or electronic media related to the litigation with the child, and refraining from disparaging comments about the other parent to the child.
(s) The developmental stages and needs of the child and the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to meet the child’s developmental needs.
(t) Any other factor that is relevant to the determination of a specific parenting plan, including the time-sharing schedule.
Florida Law on modification of parental responsibility and/or time-sharing is not easy and has difficult rules and procedures. Do not do it alone. I always offer a free consultation. There is no better way than sitting down face-to-face with me to learn what your rights are and to get what you deserve. If you are reading this I am sure you know someone, a friend or family member, that has a horror story regarding their own experience. That is why you should always consult an attorney that practices Divorces and Family Law and nothing else. Someone like me. I do not practice criminal law or elder law, or many other types of law. I am Florida Divorce and Family Law attorney that understands the laws completely, because I handle family law matters on a regular basis. I will always listen compassionately and attentively to your needs and concerns and provide you with the best advice for your particular case.