Makeup Parenting Time Awards
In Florida, child custody is divided into two main categories: time-sharing and parental responsibility. The former refers to how much time a child spends with each parent, while the latter addresses how parents will share responsibility for making decisions on the child’s behalf. Once a court finalizes a divorce, the parenting plan put in place (either by the parents or the judge) will become legally binding, which means that both parents must comply with its terms. This includes strictly adhering to the time-sharing, or visitation schedule. When a parent fails to comply, he or she can not only be held in contempt of court, but can also be required to provide makeup parenting time for the dates that were missed.
Improper Denial of Parenting Time
Under Florida law, when a parent refuses to honor a time-sharing agreement without proper cause, a family law court can award makeup time to the other parent to compensate for the time that was missed. Generally, the number of days that a court orders in makeup time will correlate to the number of days missed by the offending parent. Unfortunately, what qualifies as denying custody without proper cause isn’t clearly stated. Courts will, however, generally only intervene when the offending parent has purposely caused the child to miss multiple visits with the other parent. A one-time change in the schedule due to a parent’s severe illness, for instance, isn’t usually enough to justify contempt of court charges for violating a visitation agreement.
Additional Penalties for Violating a Time-Sharing Agreement
In addition to requiring the offending parent to provide extra parenting time to make up for visits that were improperly denied, courts can also hold that person in contempt of court and/or order him or her to:
- Pay any court costs and attorney’s fees incurred by the co-parent in enforcing the parenting plan;
- Attend a parenting course;
- Perform community service; and
- Bear the financial burden of promoting frequent contact when he or she lives further than 60 miles from the other parent.
Courts can also modify the parenting plan to adjust the visitation schedule if there have been ongoing problems with enforcing the current custody arrangement.
Fortunately, not all cases involving makeup time will need to go through the court system. In fact, parents are strongly encouraged to work these issues out on their own in an out-of-court setting. If one parent was forced to miss a child’s scheduled visit, for instance, then the other parent could request a makeup visit. In most cases, co-parents are more than willing to work something out. It is only when these types of negotiations are fruitless or one parent is refusing to communicate with the other, that a court can be asked to step in and resolve the issue on the parties’ behalf.
Schedule a Meeting with an Experienced Custody Lawyer Today
To speak with a skilled Fort Lauderdale child visitation and time-sharing attorney about your own right to visitation, please call Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A at 954-945-7591 today.