Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Custody

Life is constantly moving and changing. So it is no surprise that parties find the need to modify their Florida parenting plan after it is entered. In order to modify a parenting plan in Florida, a party seeking to do so must show that there has been a substantial change in circumstances which was not contemplated at the time of the final judgment. While this standard may appear clear cut, there is sometimes confusion in what constitutes a substantial change as shown in the recent case Puhl v. Puhl, 4D18-365 (Fla. 4th DCA 2018).

In this case, the parties were originally granted a final judgment of dissolution of marriage in which the parties agreed that while the parties would confer on major decisions affecting the children, if the parties could not agree, the former wife had ultimate decision making authority over the children’s education, medical and religious upbringing. One year later, the former husband sought a modification of this decision making, alleging the former wife was not keeping him informed of various medical issues involving the parties’ child and that the former wife was subjecting the child to unnecessary medical treatment.

After a hearing, the trial court granted the former husband’s petition for modification and the former wife appealed. The appellate court reversed, holding “[T]he Former Husband alleges the Former Wife is taking the child to therapy that the child does not need. But a medical professional diagnosed the child with the condition for which the Former Wife seeks treatment. And the record supports a finding that the child's issue arose before entry of the final judgment of dissolution. The Former Husband also conceded in his second petition that the child was diagnosed with certain issues before the entry of the final judgment of dissolution. These facts do not support a finding of a substantial, material, and unanticipated change in circumstances. Thus, modification was improper.”

Are you considering requesting a modification of your parenting plan? In order to possibly avoid a waste of money and time, set a consultation with a Miami child custody lawyer to determine whether or not your situation meets the standard for modification of a Florida parenting plan.