In many divorces and paternity cases involving children, a family court judge will award what is known as shared parental responsibility, which grants both parents the legal authority to make decisions about their children together. A judge can also grant sole parental responsibility, in which only one parent has the authority to make significant decisions about the child’s life. But what happens when one parent believes that a modification of the parenting plan is necessary? That parent can petition the court for a modification of the parenting plan and timesharing.
Under What Circumstances Will Judges Consider a Modification of Timesharing?
Family court judges always make decisions about parenting plans and timesharing based on what they believe is in the best interest of the child in a divorce or paternity case. So if a parent requests a modification of that agreement, they must prove that there has been a substantial change in the circumstances surrounding their child, and that the modification would be in the best interests of that child.
The most common circumstances that could require a modification of timesharing include:
- Physical/Sexual Abuse – If a parent can provide evidence that the other parent is physically or sexual abusing their child, or allowing another adult to do so, this could convince a judge to grant a modification.
- Drug and Alcohol Abuse – If the child is living with a parent who suffers from drug abuse or alcohol dependence, or is exposed to an adult who struggles with abuse, it could be grounds for a modification.
- Violations of Timesharing Schedule – If a parent with parental responsibility continuously violates the timesharing schedule, a judge would have to determine if the violation is intentional, or if it was done to protect the best interests of the child.
- Relocation – A parent with timesharing and parental responsibility has the right to relocate if he or she petitions the court and provides evidence that the move would benefit both the parent and the child. However, relocation to a place that is so far away that it would make it impossible for the other parent to be involved in the child’s life could convince a judge to block the move, or to change the timesharing agreement.
- Change In Parent’s Lifestyle – If a parent has significantly changed his or her lifestyle since the divorce, a judge may find it necessary to modify the timesharing agreement to keep a child safe. For example, a parent who joins a violent protest group that puts a child in danger could be subject to a modification of timesharing.
- Child Requests Change – In some cases, an older child who is mature and intelligent can tell the court that he or she prefers to live with the other parent. The child would have to provide a reason that convinces the judge that remaining in the current situation is not in the best interest of the child’s welfare.
Why You Need An Experienced Family Lawyer
Petitioning for a modification of timesharing is a complex process, and if you don’t present the proper evidence, you may end up losing your case. The Law Office of Eric C. Cheshire has handled numerous modifications, and we understand what is necessary to achieve success. Please call us today at 561-655-8844 for a personal consultation.