Your parenting plan or custody order creates a specific set of rules for you and your ex. It explains how much time you have with the children and how you share decision-making authority until they are adults capable of handling those matters for themselves.
Those terms will influence every part of your children’s lives and also your finances, as your parenting time directly relates to the child support obligations that apply. The parenting plan’s details will determine your budget and schedule.
Eventually, no matter how carefully you negotiated your original parenting plan, you will likely need to update your custody order because the situation changes. If your parenting plan currently isn’t working for your family anymore, then it might be time to seek a custody modification.
Do you have to constantly change your schedule?
If you and your ex have to repeatedly argue over the same decisions or change your parenting arrangements more often than not, it may be time to modify your existing order. If the plan you have does not reflect your current division of parenting time, the needs of the children or your work schedule, the courts may view the changes to your life as substantial enough to warrant a modification.
Your ex may also agree with the idea that it is time to modify your parenting plan. If you mutually agree on specific terms, then you can file an uncontested modification request that merely requires review by the courts to ensure it is in the best interest of the children. If your ex does not agree, then you can request a contested modification hearing.
What happens in a contested modification case?
As with any contested custody matter, the children’s needs are paramount in a contested modification hearing. The courts will seek first and foremost to establish what will be in their best interest and adjust the parenting plan accordingly. Having lots of time with both parents is usually in line with those best interests, so a modification that increases your parenting time could seem like a good idea to the judge who hears your case.
Recognizing the value in seeking a custody modification helps those sharing custody of their children in Florida.