Proof Required for Modification of Judgment in Parenting Plan

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In the state of Florida, a modification of judgment involving a parenting plan may be requested by any party when the circumstances of the parties has substantially changed. The party requesting for modification has the burden of proof or the duty to prove what those substantial changes are, and how those changed circumstances have affected the parenting plan.

The proof required must conform to substantial rules and legal rules of procedure that an experienced and competent family law attorney would know.

Modification Reversed for Lack of Proof 

In a recent case involving a father who sought a modification of a parenting plan, the appellate court reversed a trial court’s order for modification due to the party’s failure to meet the burden of proof required in a petition for modification.

The case stemmed from a petition that a father filed for modification of a time-sharing order. The father alleged that his new work schedule allowed him to work from home, giving him more time to spend with the child, a nine-year-old boy. The father also testified that the child experienced stress from the constant shifting of residences and proposed an alternating two-week schedule. 

In reversing the modification of judgment, the appellate court ruled that while a change in work schedule may constitute substantial change in circumstances, the evidence presented did not meet the burden of proof that the law requires for modification of the time-sharing plan.

Changed Circumstances Must Be Unanticipated 

The court also addressed the father’s allegation and testimony that the child needed more time with him now as the child was older and nearing manhood. The appellate court ruled that the original timesharing plan already contemplated that the child would age and mature. Thus, the allegation of the child nearing manhood was not a change that could justify the modification of the time-sharing plan already in place.

In granting a modification of judgment involving existing orders either for parenting time or child support, the petitioning party must be able to prove that there are substantial changes in the party’s circumstances. The changed circumstances must be significant, material, permanent, involuntary, and unanticipated for the court to grant a modification based on substantial changes.

When new conditions surface after the implementation of your court order for child support or parenting time, it’s important to discuss them with your family law attorney who can determine whether your circumstances meet the standard for changing a judgment for time-sharing or child support.

In Florida, the Law Firm for Family Law is renowned for being the home of one of only 18 Board Certified Experts in Marital and Family Law in Pinellas County. Backed by a qualified team of associates and paralegals, we provide full attention to all our clients and are prepared to represent you in court, if necessary.

We welcome your call us today at (727) 531-8737 to arrange for a initial case evaluation.