Timesharing Agreements and Modifications

When married couples go through a divorce, one of the most common follow-up questions is who will have custody of any minor children or how to create or modify a timesharing schedule or parenting agreement.

The Florida Legislature handles child rearing with the utmost importance and looks to the best interest of the child when making custody determinations.

Child support and parenting, and timesharing obligations are governed by Fla. Stat. § 61.13 and require a substantial change in order to modify the terms of a parenting plan.

Attorney for Timesharing Agreements in Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Considering that Florida courts are so heavily involved in child rearing decisions among parents, it is imperative that you have an experienced family law attorney to help you navigate the law on timesharing agreements.

Understanding the limits and avenues of Florida law, when creating a parenting plan with a former spouse or partner, can be much easier with an attorney who has handled these cases before.

The attorneys at Bacchus & Navarro Law Group have years of experience fighting for the best interest of the child when parents are going through the process of a divorce. If you or someone you know needs a timesharing agreement modified, speak with a family law attorney who will work one on one with you regarding your case.

With offices located at 401 E. Las Olas Blvd. in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, just minutes from the Broward County Central Courthouse, we accept cases in Miami, West Palm Beach, East Naples, or LaBelle, Florida.

Call (954) 500-5555 now for more information about how to modify a time-sharing parenting plan.


Overview of Florida Alimony in Broward County


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Florida Child Timesharing Plan

According to Florida Statute § 61.13(c), the court shall determine all matters relating to the parenting and timesharing of minor children in accordance with the best interests of the child. The court will order a parenting plan to include time shared equally between both parents unless the court finds that the shared responsibility would be detrimental to the child.

Specifically, the Statute states that modifying a timesharing agreement requires a showing of a "substantial, material, and unanticipated change in circumstances." Florida public policy necessitates that each minor child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents separate or their marriage dissolves.


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Modifying a Florida Timesharing Agreement

According to Florida Statute § 61.13(d)(3), in order to modify a timesharing schedule, the best interest of the child shall be the primary consideration. Thus, a parental timesharing plan cannot be modified without showing that the requesting parent suffered a substantial, material, and unanticipated change in circumstances and the modification would be in the best interest of the child.

When considering the best interest of the child, the court will look at the following factors:

  • the ability or willingness of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship;
  • the ability or willingness of each parent to honor the timesharing schedule and to be reasonable when changes are required;
  • the anticipated division of parental responsibilities after litigation, including how parental responsibilities are delegated;
  • the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desire to maintain continuity;
  • the geographic viability of the parenting plan;
  • the needs of school-age children and the amount of time to be spent traveling to effectuate the parenting plan;
  • the mental and physical health of the parents;
  • the home, school, and community record of the child;
  • the reasonable preference of the child;
  • the demonstrated knowledge, capacity, and disposition of each parent to be informed of the child's circumstances;
  • the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to provide a consistent routine for the child, such as discipline, daily schedules, meals, and bedtime;
  • the demonstrated capacity of each parent to communicate with and keep the other parent informed of issues and activities regarding the minor child;
  • evidence of domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, abandonment, or neglect;
  • evidence that either parent has knowingly provided false information to the court regarding any prior or pending action regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, abandonment, or neglect;
  • the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to participate and be involved in the child's school and extracurricular activities;
  • the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to maintain a substance abuse free environment;
  • the demonstrated capacity of each parent to protect the child from the ongoing litigation;
  • the demonstrated capacity of each parent to meet the child's developmental needs; and
  • any other factor relevant to a parenting plan.

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The Substantial Change Test

According to the Florida Statute, in order to modify a timesharing agreement between parents, the requesting parent must satisfy the substantial change test. The substantial change test applies to modification of all custody agreements. Wade v. Hirchman, 903 So. 2d 928 (FL 2005).

According to Florida courts, the change must be significant, material, involuntary, and permanent in nature before the court will adjust a parenting agreement.  

The Florida Supreme Court stated that the substantial change test is a two-part test designed to decide whether the following apply to a petitioning parent's situation:

  • there was a substantial and material change in circumstances, and
  • that the best interests of the child can still be promoted by such a change in the timesharing plan.

Thus, in the extraordinary burden, the petitioning parent must first show that there was an unforeseen change in circumstances. Once the court determines that such circumstances exist, then it must determine whether the suggested modification is in the best interest of the child.


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Additional Resources

Wade v. Hirchman, 903 So. 2d 928 (FL 2005) –Visit the Miami Law website to find the full 5th D.C.A. opinion on modifying a timesharing plan. The case also includes the law on the substantial change test and when it is applicable.

Fla. Stat. § 61.13 -- Visit the official website of the Florida Legislature for the full statutory scheme of modifying a timesharing agreement for minor children in a Florida court. This Statute is fundamental in understanding what Florida considers to be in the best interests of its minor citizens. 

Petition to Modify Timesharing – Visit the website of the Florida Courts to find the Florida amendment form for modifying a child timesharing agreement. This form is useful for understanding how the courts will analyze a child sharing agreement.


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Find an Attorney for Modifying a Timesharing Plan in Broward County, FL

Considering the difficulty in potentially changing a child's lifestyle and appealing to the Florida courts with such a change, it is crucial that any parent seeking a timesharing modification seek the advice of experienced legal counsel.

At Bacchus & Navarro Law Group we pride ourselves on providing sound and understandable legal advice to clients. We will fight for your rights and for the best interest of your child.

In the past, we have taken cases in Collier County, Hendry County, Palm Beach County, Miami-Dade County, and Broward County. If you or someone you know has had issues modifying a custody agreement, call our office.

With our office located at 401 E. Las Olas Blvd. in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, just minutes from the Broward County Central Courthouse, we accept cases in Miami, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, East Naples, or LaBelle, Florida.

Call (954) 500-5555 now for more information about how to modify a timesharing parenting plan.

This article was last updated on Wednesday, May 10, 2017.


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