A Modification of Child Custody and Visitation case was recently decided by the Florida Court of Appeal. In a case captioned Puhl v. Puhl the Florida Court of Appeal held that the failure to keep other parent informed of issues concerning a child was an insufficient basis, in and of itself, to modify the parties’ timesharing schedule. In Puhl v. Puhl the trial court entered a Final Judgment of Dissolution which incorporated the parties agreed upon parenting plan. The parenting plan provided for shared parental responsibility and also provided that if the parties were unable to agree upon the child’s healthcare, education or religious upbringing, the mother’s decision would prevail. A year after the divorce was granted, the Father moved to modify the parties’ parenting plan. The Father alleged that the Mother was deciding healthcare issues pertaining to the child without consulting him and that the child was receiving unnecessary medical treatment.
In regards to a Modification of Child Custody and Visitation, the Florida Court of Appeals stated that in order to modify a timesharing schedule, there must be a material, substantial, and unanticipated change of circumstances, and the proposed modification must be in the best interests of the child. The burden of proving that there has been a material, substantial and unanticipated change of circumstances is upon the party seeking the modification. It is an extraordinary burden of proof. The Florida Court of Appeal stated that even if a parent does not keep the other parent apprised of the minor child’s activities and the other parent has the ability to keep themselves informed, this only constitutes a communication problem and is not a basis to grant a modification of the timesharing schedule. Accordingly, the Florida Court of Appeal denied the father’s request to modify the parties’ timesharing agreement.