Childrens Rights Florida
Childrens Rights Florida campaign leader

Florida law provides that when a parent refuses to honor the timesharing schedule, the other party may (a) seek modification of the timesharing schedule; (b) order make-up timesharing; (c) order that the non-complying party pay attorney’s fees and costs to enforce the timesharing schedule; and (d) hold the recalcitrant parent in contempt. Florida courts have found substantial changes in circumstances to warrant modification based upon these facts:

Tucker v. Greenberg, 674 So.2d 807 (Fla. 5th DCA 1996) held that the Father had shown a material change of circumstances that made the change of custody in the best interests of the children as (a) Mother created scenes when Father attempted visitation with the children; (b) Mother would telephone the children constantly and cry when they were with their Father; (c) Mother was obsessed with making shared parental responsibility as difficult as possible for the Father; and (d) Mother communicated her dislike of Father to the point that it affected the children’s emotional well-being. The Court found that the Mother’s behavior was damaging to the children, Father would provide better access to the children, and it was in the best interests of the children that Father be the primary custodian of the children. Id. at 808-809. Post-dissolution conduct interfering with the visitation coupled with creating emotional problems in the children is a substantial change in circumstances. Id. 809 [citing Kudick, 622 So. 2d 159 (Fla. 4th DCA 1993); Tessler, 539 So.2d 522 (Fla. 4th DCA)].

In Sanchez v. Hernandez, 45 So.3d 57 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010) the Fourth District Court of Appeal held that an acrimonious relationship and the lack of communication between the parents regarding the minor child is insufficient to establish a change in circumstances to warrant modification. However, this Court made distinctions (a) that while the Mother had threatened to prevent Father from exercising his timesharing, she never actually followed through with these threats; (b) the Guardian Ad Litem believed that Mother was capable of facilitating a relationship between the child and the Father; and (c) Father was allowed to visit the child so there was no evidence that the child was alienated from her Father. Id. at 62

In Wade v. Hirschman, 903 So.2d 928 (Fla. Sup. 2005) the Florida Supreme Court held that (a) evidence of parental alienation of the Father by the Mother; (b) failure of the Mother to cooperate with the parenting coordinator and comply with the parenting agreement (c) Mother’s unilateral change of the child’s school and therapist; and (d) a finding that Mother was in contempt of court for her actions relative to visitation supported a substantial change in circumstances that warranted a modification. Id. at 935. The trial court’s application of the enumerated factors set forth in § 61.13(3)(a) through (j) were then applied to determine that the prior arrangement was no longer in the best interests of the child. The Florida Supreme Court approved the substantial change test as followed by the trial court and agreed with the trial court’s decision. Id.


to comment