If I am relocating, can I seek to modify the time-sharing agreement of my minor child?

It is important to note that any modification to a determination of parental responsibility, a parenting plan, or a time-sharing schedule may not be achieved without a showing of a substantial, material, and unanticipated change in circumstances. In addition, the modification must be in the best interests of the child. In a recent case in Moore v. Mcintosh, 39 Fla. L. Weekly 78a (Fla. 1St DCA 2014), the 1st DCA held that relocation does not itself constitute a substantial change in circumstances to warrant modification of a time-sharing agreement. The court cited several cases in which relocation did not constitute a substantial change in circumstances.

In Moore, the parties had entered into a marital settlement agreement which specifically stated that the parties anticipated to reside in close proximity to one another and in the same school district. Then, both parties relocated to different cities. The Court held that

although this expresses a hope that the parties would remain in close proximity to each other, the possibility of relocation is expressly contemplated.

In sum, if one party is seeking to relocate, he or she must still show a substantial change in circumstances to justify the relocation and the change in the time-sharing agreement. This hurdle may be avoided with proper drafting of your time-sharing agreement.

For more information, see Moore v. Mcintosh, 39 Fla. L. Weekly 78a (Fla. 1St DCA 2014). Liridona Sinani is an Attorney with Martin Law Firm, P.L. who practices Family Law and Civil Litigation. She is admitted to practice law in the State of Florida and the Federal Court for the Middle District of Florida. She primarily practices in Lee County and Collier County Florida in Cape Coral, Fort Myers, and Naples.