Modification of Child Custody and Visitation

In a modification of child custody and visitation case, where the parties were originally awarded shared parental responsibility, the parties must attempt to confer and agree before major decisions are made. In Dickson v. Dickson, the Florida Court of Appeal recently stated that if the parties are unable to agree on a significant issue affecting their children’s health, safety, welfare or schooling, the parties must obtain a determination of the court before they take unilateral action. In Dickson v. Dickson the final judgment of dissolution gave the parties shared parental responsibility on major decisions, including educational matters. Under the concept of shared parental responsibility, major decisions affecting the welfare of a child are to be made after the parents confer and reach an agreement. In the event that the parents are unable to agree, the dispute should be presented to the court for resolution. The selection of a child’s school is a major decision.

Since the parties were unable to agree on the child’s school, the Court of Appeal held that the mother was required to obtain court approval before unilaterally enrolling the child in a different school. Under these circumstances, the court must resolve the impasse by determining the best interests of the child. In a modification of child custody and visitation case the trial court should take evidence and use the best interests of the child standard to determine if modification is in the child’s best. The parties’ inability to agree on which school the child should attend constitutes a substantial change in circumstances warranting modification of the parenting plan.

To speak with a Palm Beach County modification of child custody and visitation attorney, contact Matthew Lane & Associates, P.A. at (561) 363-3400.