If you are a co-parent in the Sunshine State, you may be able to make changes to your Florida parenting plan if you feel they are at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are a few things to know.
I really feel for divorced parents right now. Not only do they have to navigate the everyday challenges that time-sharing and co-parenting throw at them—for the majority of 2020, they also have had to find answers to unprecedented questions.
Parents have a lot to consider when it comes to keeping their kids safe and healthy during COVID-19, and in some instances, that might entail making modifications to their parenting plan.
Are you a parent dealing with child custody issues during the pandemic? Here are a few things you need to know.
Florida Parenting Plan Modification under Normal Circumstances
Under normal circumstances, changing a parenting plan takes a lot of effort. You have to file a petition, attend a hearing, and convince a judge that modifying the plan is in the child’s best interest, even if you and your child’s other parent agree about the change to the plan.
Judges often only consent to modifications to a Florida parenting plan when a “substantial” or “unanticipated” change occurs. For instance, if one parent were to move to a new city, the circumstances may require a revised plan to put the child’s needs first. Another example might be a sudden change in one parent’s ability to provide care, as is often the case with drug addiction and mental health issues.
High-Risk Work and Refusal to Follow Rules Could Put Your Co-Parent’s Rights at Risk
During this pandemic, parents have had to contend with the above challenges as well as those posed by COVID-19.
A common fear that many divorced parents have had (understandably) is that their co-parent might expose their child to the coronavirus.
There have been recent cases in which one parent challenges another’s custody rights because the other parent is a health care worker who has a higher likelihood to come in contact with the virus. One Florida mother lost custody of her daughter simply because she was a doctor, though that decision was overturned. The courts are usually reluctant to completely take away a parent’s right to see their child, but they have implemented limits in some parenting plans.
In other cases, the courts may completely take away visitation rights if a parent does not comply with rules for COVID-19 safety, such as wearing a mask.
Fight for the Parenting Plan Your Child Deserves
Whether you are trying to modify your parenting plan to protect your child from exposure to the virus or to maintain your rights as a parent, I am here for you. As a family law attorney who cares deeply for my clients, I can tell you that you do not have to go through this difficult time alone.
Get the support you need by contacting my offices today to set up a consultation.