When Can You Change a Parenting Plan?

When you and your spouse divorced or otherwise separated, you likely came away with a parenting plan that applied to your circumstances at the time. Our lives evolve over time, however, and this is especially true of children. Their needs, schedules, and interests develop right along with them, and your current parenting plan may not be keeping up.

Parents seek parenting plan modifications for any number of important reasons. Walking away with the modification you seek, however, involves a complicated legal process that shouldn’t be left to chance – you’re well advised to work closely with an experienced Tampa family law attorney.

Mutual Agreement

If you and your children’s other parent are in agreement about changing your parenting plan, the court will almost certainly sign off on the modification. Both of your lives are evolving – right along with your children’s – and if you can find terms that are mutually beneficial, you’ll definitely be ahead of the game. You should, however, make this modification official by filing it with the court. The fact is that your original parenting plan remains legally enforceable unless it is modified by the court.

Grounds for Modification

In order to seek a parenting plan modification, the law requires you to have a compelling reason for doing so. This means that the court will only take the matter under consideration if you have undergone a substantial change in circumstances that was not anticipated and if a modification is in the best interests of your shared children. In other words, the court has considerable discretion in the matter, but it is always motivated by the involved children’s best interests.

Considering Your Children’s Best Interests

Determining your children’s overall best interests is obviously a complicated task, but the court will take a number of factors into consideration, including:

  • Your children’s physical and emotional safety is paramount.
  • The court’s stance is that children are nearly universally better off when they spend time with both parents (barring seriously extenuating circumstances).
  • The court favors consistency for children and will not disrupt this without a significant reason for doing so.
  • The court will take factors like the kids’ preferences and family ties with extended family members into consideration, and while these may help tip the balance, they are unlikely to be the impetus behind a modification.

A parenting plan modification can be an important tool for addressing you and your children’s evolving lives – and those unexpected life circumstances we all encounter – but you’ll need to present a solid case in support of such a modification to the court.

Consult with an Experienced Tampa Family Lay Attorney Today

If you need a parenting plan modification, Mark G. Rodriguez at the Law Office of Mark G. Rodriguez, P.A., in Tampa is an accomplished family law attorney who has been successfully protecting the rights of parents like you for more than three decades. We’re here to help, so please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at 813-227-9642 for more information today.