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Automatically Modifying Your Parenting Plan


In most cases, parents who wish to modify a parenting plan, whether they want to change the time-sharing schedule or modify how parental responsibility is divided, will need to ask the court to approve the change. There is, however, an exception to this rule that allows parents to include a provision in their parenting plan that allows for the automatic modification of the custody arrangement in specific situations. Read on to learn more about the type of automatic modification provisions parents can include when drafting their time-sharing schedules.

Including Automatic Prospective Modifications in a Parenting Plan 

Courts will generally only approve a parenting plan if it deems the custody arrangement to be in a particular child’s best interests. For this reason, parents aren’t usually allowed to include provisions in their plans that provide for automatic modification in the future, as it’s not possible for a court to assess the future best interests of a child. There is, however, an exception to this rule, which allows parents to take future events into account when drafting a parenting plan.

Exception to the Automatic Prospective Modification Rule 

Judges don’t allow automatic modification of time-sharing arrangements when those changes are based on uncertain contingent future events that may not ever take place. Such provisions are allowed, however, when the modification in question relates to an event that is reasonably certain to occur at an identifiable time. A change in the time-sharing arrangement that went into effect when a child started attending kindergarten, for instance, would be permissible, as it is objectively likely to occur at a specific time that families and courts can plan for.

Seeking a Modification of a Parenting Plan 

Parents who are unable to reach an agreement on automatic prospective modifications aren’t totally out of luck when it comes to later altering their parenting plans, but can seek modifications if and when the need arises. If, for instance, a change in work schedule or relocation were to occur, a parent could attempt to negotiate a modification of the time-sharing arrangement with the other parent and then seek approval of that change in court. If two parties cannot reach an agreement, however, then the parent seeking the change will need to file a formal petition with the judge. An official modification of a parenting plan will only be permitted if the petitioning parent can prove that a substantial change in circumstances justifies the adjustment and that the change is in the child’s best interests.

Set Up a Meeting By Phone or Online Message Today 

If you have a young child and have questions about how the terms of your parenting plan can change over time, please call dedicated Fort Lauderdale child visitation and time-sharing lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591. We know how stressful child custody disputes can be and will use our experience and resources to help resolve your matter as quickly as possible. Call or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.




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