A Modification of Child Custody and Visitation case was recently decided by the Florida Court of Appeal in a case captioned Romeo v. Romeo. In this case, the former husband and former wife were divorced in 2007. The Final Judgment dissolving their marriage contained an agreed upon time-sharing schedule for their minor children. The former husband filed a Supplemental Petition for Modification of Time-sharing. After a hearing, the trial court granted the former husband’s request for a modification of the parties’ time-sharing schedule for their minor children. The trial court awarded additional time-sharing to the former husband, and altered the parties’ holiday time-sharing schedule. The lower court also lowered the amount of the Husband’s child support.
In the case captioned Romeo v. Romeo, the Florida Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s ruling. The Appellate Court ruled that in order to award a modification of child custody and visitation, a trial court must find that there has been a material, substantial, and unanticipated change of circumstances.
In the Modification of Child Custody and Visitation case at bar, the trial court failed to include this finding in its Supplemental Final Judgment. Additionally, the former husband argued that the former wife agreed to a change in the parties’ time-sharing arrangement by allowing the former husband to spend time-sharing with their children on alternate Sundays. The Florida Court of Appeal stated that consent by a parent to permit the other parent to spend extra time-sharing with their children does not create a basis for a modification of time-sharing.
As a result of the aforementioned case findings, the Florida Court of Appeal reversed the trial court, and remanded the case to the lower court for proceedings that were consistent with this ruling.