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Can Time-Sharing Arrangements Change?


After going through a divorce or a lengthy custody dispute, it can be easy to slip into thinking about time-sharing arrangements as though they are permanent and can never change. While child custody orders are legally binding and enforceable by Florida family law courts, they are not immutable. In fact, many families are encouraged to modify their parenting time arrangements, as most can expect to undergo significant changes during a child’s minority. Child custody modifications can reflect these changes, whether they be based on new employment, the addition of more children, a relocation, or even just a changing relationship between a child and his or her parents.

There are, however, certain procedures that must be completed before this type of official change can be made, so if you believe that a change in your current parenting plan would be in your child’s best interests, you should speak with a Fort Lauderdale child visitation and time-sharing lawyer who can walk you through the modification process.

The Basis of Time-Sharing Arrangements

Courts take a number of factors into account when creating a time-sharing plan, including:

  • How responsibility for child care is allocated between family members;
  • How far away the parents live from each other;
  • How well-equipped each parent is to meet the child’s needs;
  • How long the child has lived in his or her current home; and
  • Whether there is a history of domestic violence or abuse in the family.

How these factors apply, however, in a family’s specific case isn’t always static, but can change over time. One of the child’s parents may, for instance, have struggled in the past with drug addiction, but has since recovered and desires a greater role in raising his or her child. In other cases, a child’s increasing age may require less supervision, or perhaps one or both of the parents have decided to move. In these cases, a court could be willing to modify the original time-sharing arrangement to reflect the new changes.

When You Can Change Your Agreement

There are a few different ways to change a custody arrangement in Florida, the first of which is by agreement. This is one of the lesser known methods of modifying a time-sharing agreement and involves coming to an out-of-court agreement with a former partner, drafting and signing the new agreement, and submitting it to the court for approval. The second way of changing an agreement involves allegations of domestic violence. In these cases, one parent’s seeking of a protective order against the other can be used to receive an emergency hearing for modification. Finally, couples who don’t agree on whether or how to change a parenting plan can seek help from the court, where the petitioning parent will need to prove that a substantial change in circumstances justifies a modification of the original order. New employment, a serious illness, or relocation are generally considered substantial enough to justify a change.

Do You Need Help Changing Your Time-Sharing Agreement?

You can schedule an initial consultation with dedicated child visitation and time-sharing lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. by calling 954-945-7591 or by filling out one of our brief online forms.






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