As a Jacksonville Family Law Attorney, I am often asked whether a child timesharing order can be modified after a divorce. In short, yes, parents can change their timesharing agreement. However, if the parents do not agree about the modification, the standard under Florida Law is often difficult to satisfy.
After a final decree establishing timesharing is filed with a Jacksonville court, parents may later agree to modify its terms. Although not required, it is advisable to obtain the court’s approval for the modification so that it may later be enforceable it needed. Generally, Jacksonville courts approve modification agreements unless it appears the modification is not in the best interests of the child.
If a parent wants to change an existing timesharing agreement and the other parent will not agree to the change, he or she must petition the court to modify it. Generally, a Jacksonville court will allow a modification if the parent asking for the change can show that there has been a “substantial change in circumstances.” Some examples include a geographic move or a change in lifestyle.
If a majority timesharing parent makes a significant move, or a move that will seriously disrupt the stability of a child’s life, the move may qualify as a substantial change in circumstances and warrant a modification of the timesharing agreement. Additionally, if substantial changes in a parent’s lifestyle threatens or harms a child, a modification to the timesharing agreement may be granted. Florida courts use the “best interest of the child” as a guiding principle when making timesharing decisions. This principle trumps all other factors when making any kind of timesharing decision.
A Jacksonville parent wishing to change a timesharing arrangement under a divorce decree or paternity order has a heavy burden to satisfy. In these cases, it is essential to retain a knowledgable family law attorney. If you have any questions about specific circumstances, contact a Jacksonville Family Law Attorney today.