Under current law, if parents of a child are living apart, the parents have to create a parenting plan that must also be approved by the court. The plan generally must outline the parents’ responsibilities and time-sharing rules. If a parent wishes to change the plan, the parent must generally show a “substantial, material, and unanticipated change” in the circumstances that require a modification. Further, the modification must be in the best interests of the child.
There has historically been an exception if a parent is deployed in the military. If a parent is unable to adhere to a parenting plan because of military service, courts have generally been unable to modify the plan except to enter a temporary modification. Under the new law, deployment cannot be the sole factor in the court’s decision to grant a modification of a permanent plan.
This gives more protection for parents who are in the service and are worries their parenting plans might be altered while deployed or otherwise unable to meet the plan. While it’s not impossible for a court to alter a plan, it cannot alter the plan based solely on that parent’s deployment.
For more information regarding this topic or other family law issues contact a Jacksonville Family Law Attorney today.