How Should My Child's Parenting Plan Change As They Grow?

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As the years pass after your divorce or initial child custody determination, you may find your original parenting plan is no longer as effective or relevant to the developmental stage of your child. If you have found that your child has outgrown your original parenting plan formulated by you and your partner or the court, contact an Orlando Child Custody Attorney today to discuss modifications that may be necessary to update this plan.

Modifications of a parenting plan may come in many forms: such as changes in timesharing, educational institutions or holiday plans. In any case of your child’s growth, in order for the court to approve a modification to an existing parenting plan, there must be “a showing of a substantial, material, and unanticipated change of circumstances.” Along with a substantial change, the court will ensure that such modifications are in the best interest of the child. “Determination of the best interests of the child shall be made by evaluating all of the factors affecting the welfare and interests of the particular minor child and the circumstances of that family.”

Substantial changes that have been recognized by the court include the development of special needs of the child. With the development of special needs, a child may need extra medical attention, and special schooling. The school your child is currently enrolled in may not be able to care and attend to the needs of your child and therefore, a change in schools may be necessary. Further, certain regulations regarding the day to day care of the child may need to be addressed as therapy appointments or home environments may need to be accommodating to the change in the child’s health. These instances, likely were not addressed in an original parenting plan. Therefore, a modification designating proper educational institutions for the child as well as healthcare decisions for the child may need to be amended. Your Orlando Child Custody Attorney can assist you to coordinate with the school, therapists, and your former partner to create a plan to reflect the new needs of the child to present to the court.

Other substantial changes may be a relocation of a parent, requiring a change in the timesharing schedule or the developmental stage of child changing. For instance, when a child is an infant, much time is needed with the mother and therefore, the court may have designated a timesharing schedule that allowed for an uneven amount of time spent with the mother. However, as the child progresses into further development, more neutral and continued contact with both mother and father is necessary. Your Orlando Child Custody Attorney will make it clear to the court that the changes you are suggesting will not harm the child’s stability but will strengthen the parent/child relationship.

Since your original parenting plan, children may have entered school, been accepted to higher education closer to a single parent, timesharing may be easier for the child to navigate when they reach the driving age or a child may have developed special needs. With substantial changes comes many important decisions and if you and your partner are unable to come to a specific agreement, employing the skills of an experienced Orlando Child Custody Attorney will be invaluable. Contact your Orlando Child Custody Attorney to discuss your child’s needs and how you can modify your plan to meet those needs.

Speaking to an attorney at our office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at 407-512-0887 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today.

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