Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Custody

When a final judgment is incomplete, it is not error for a court to supplement it to include omitted provisions. This was the holding in the recent case Swearingen v. Swearingen, 1D17-5011 (Fla. 1st DCA 2018) in which the mother appealed the trial court’s decision to supplement the final judgment with a complete parenting plan.

The original final judgment entered did not specify a time-sharing schedule or communication parameters between the parties’ child and their son. The trial court fixed this error by supplementing with a time-sharing schedule. The appellate court found no error in the decision to do so, noting the Florida Statutes require that a parenting plan, at a minimum, specify a time-sharing schedule.

When parties decide to represent themselves in a Florida divorce case, often times because they are unaware of the law and the standards governing a parenting plan, most final judgments indicate the parties will share time with the child “as they agree”. The problem with this approach is that in most cases, the parties inevitably will disagree and there is no concrete time-sharing schedule to rely on in those times.

Therefore, it is important to note that if your parenting plan contains a similar provision, you should schedule a consultation with a Miami child custody lawyer to determine if it is possible to amend or supplement your final judgment so that a definite schedule is included. This may avoid the headache associated with missing precious time with your children.