How to Make Changes to a Parenting Plan or Support Order


How to Make Changes to a Parenting Plan or Support Order

Oftentimes when a couple has parted amicably and are trying to show their child or children that they can get along with each other, modifications and changes to child support and custody will occur outside the courtroom.  It may begin with someone getting a new job and needing to work more or different hours, perhaps someone lost a job and they want to have a temporary reprieve from child support. These types of agreements between exes can be useful if they are sporadic or a result of an emergency situation, but when they are performed too often patterns get set, expectations fall into place and before long the cooperation fades to irritation. Usually by the time a lawyer is involved in a modification or a return to court, both parties are unhappy with the other making it more difficult to develop a new plan or modification.

Know When to Involve Your Lawyer

Changes to alimony, or child custody can be informal when they are temporary.  Changes that extend past a one-time occurrence or involve a child’s parenting plan must require a court’s order to be binding. It is a form of contempt to violate the original terms of your agreement even if both parties agreed that it would be “OK”.  This is why it is important to work through your child custody lawyer and return the issue to the court so that everything is in writing, legal and recorded.

It may be that your changes are minor enough that attorneys for both parties can agree to note the agreement and file it without anyone returning to court.  Most attorneys look for ways to avoid going back into a courtroom, and minor changes rarely require trials. When it comes to child custody, most family law attorneys will defer to the path that makes the most sense for the child.

Major Modifications

When there are major modifications to the parenting plan, child support, or even alimony because of a job loss or job requirements then you absolutely have to work with your family law attorney to have a judge approve them. Judges render decisions based on the laws of the state. Child custody and child support laws of Florida are very strict, and it would be easy to get on the wrong side of the judicial system if you were to try and work around the rules. The court may issue a temporary modification or a permanent modification, but you will have to make a good argument for it based on the statute because they guidelines set by law.

As a family law attorney that specializes in child custody I try to work for the most reasonable and optimal solutions that provide the maximum benefits possible for the child and client.  I will evaluate your situation and advise you as to whether a modification is likely to be denied or granted.  When I can provide quick, effective solutions that benefits both child and parent I have done my job.

Know your rights.  I can help.  For a reduced fee consultation on child custody or other family law issues please call my office at 727-846-1802 or email me at

Written by Debora A. Diaz, Esq.

Divorce & Marital law