In Florida, the best interests of the child is the primary consideration for purposes of modifying parental responsibility. As with parenting plans and time-sharing schedules, a determination of parental responsibility may not be modified without a showing of a substantial, material, and unanticipated change in circumstances and a determination that the modification (i.e., either suspending or terminating shared parental responsibility and granting one parent sole parental responsibility or vice-versa) is in the best interests of the child. Determination of the best interests of the child shall be made by evaluating all relevant factors set forth in Florida Statute § 61.13 (3).
If you believe that the child’s other parent is acting in a way that is detrimental to the best interests of the child, you should seek modification of parental responsibility and should contact an experienced family law attorney to assist with preparing and filing the petition for modification of parental responsibility. Conversely, if you believe that your situation and behavior has changed such that you should now have shared parental responsibility, you should also contact an attorney to assist with preparing the petition.
As with parenting plans and time-sharing schedules, unless there is an emergency concerning the child, an evidentiary hearing will be set on the petition for modification of parental responsibility where both parents can present their witnesses to the judge. It is highly recommended that you retain an attorney to prepare for the hearing and represent you at the hearing so as to ensure that you have authority to make meaningful decisions for your child and/or the child’s other parent does not have such decision-making authority.
If you believe you need to seek modification of parental responsibility or seek to modify your ex spouse or ex partner's parental responsibility, contact us.