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What constitutes a Substantial Change in Circumstances

In order to modify a court ordered parenting plan and time sharing schedule in a Florida family law case, the moving party has the burden of proving two things. One, that a substantial, material and unanticipated change in circumstances has occurred. Two, that the change in time sharing would be in the minor child’s best interest. So what constitutes a substantial change in circumstances? The change must be material and not anticipated at the time you enter into the original parenting plan and time sharing schedule. The appellate courts have held that several things do not constitute a substantial change in circumstances. Some of those are listed as follows:

1. One parent’s remarriage and improved life and financial circumstances since the divorce is not a substantial change.

2. A temporary agreement to change custody from one parent to the other is not a substantial change.

3. When one parent obtains a new Job and is unable to care for the children for a few hours a day while she is at work does not constitute a substantial change.

4. The inability of parents to communicate does not amount to a substantial change in circumstances.

5. Relocation to another state or town alone is not a substantial change in circumstances.

There is a well established principal of law that the party seeking to modify time sharing has an extraordinary burden to prove. As with all areas of law, there are exceptions and complexities. It’s important to discuss this matter with your expert family law attorney who can analyze the facts of your case and help determine whether a substantial change in circumstances has occurred.

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