Before finalizing a divorce, parents in Florida are required to develop and submit a parenting plan to the court. This parenting plan outlines how the parents will share custody and meet the financial and emotional needs of their child. It also determines individual parental responsibilities and obligations. The court has to review this plan to ensure it meets the best interests of the child and is reasonably fair to both parents. The court can determine a parenting plan if the parents aren’t capable of cooperating or making the necessary decisions. Once approved, the parenting plan essentially becomes a court order. If one parent fails to meet the requirements of the parenting plan, the other parent can take legal action—particularly when it comes to visitation and custody rights.
There are different penalties a Florida court can order to enforce a parenting plan. The most common penalty grants the denied parent extra visiting time to compensate for the violation. Plus, the noncompliant parent may have to pay any fines for the time-sharing adjustment.
Additional penalties include:
- Modifying the parenting plan
- Switching the custodial and noncustodial parents
- Paying the compliant parent’s court fees
- Mandatory community service
- Attending a parenting course
- Holding the noncompliant parent in contempt of court
Parents can usually work together to accommodate any scheduling conflicts without taking legal action. In fact, parents can even agree to modify their parenting plan to account for any new circumstances or life changes. However, it is illegal to intentionally withhold a child from one of their parents. The parenting plan strictly defines the time each parent has with their child.
The only exception to this scenario is if one parent suspects that their child is being abused by the other parent. This is a very sensitive legal matter that may require a restraining order and a parenting plan modification. If you find yourself in this situation, contact a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer immediately.
Modifying a Parenting Plan
Florida family law courts are usually hesitant about modifying a parenting plan unless there is enough justification to warrant it. In fact, the court will usually exhaust other penalties before modifying a parenting plan for noncompliance. Whatever changes are requested by one or both parents has to benefit the best interests of the child first and foremost, otherwise the court will decline the modification.
Schedule a Consultation
At The Virga Law Firm, P.A., we understand how important it is to maintain a relationship with your child. If your former spouse is preventing your visitation rights, contact our lawyers. We can represent your case in court and even push for a parenting plan modification.
We accept calls 24/7! Contact The Virga Law Firm, P.A.at (800) 822-5170 to schedule a consultation.