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What You Need To Know About Enforcing Time Sharing In Florida

If you have minor children, and have gone through family court, and now have a parenting plan, then you may have wondered: What Happens If The Other Parent Violates Our Court Ordered Parenting Plan?

There may be serious consequences for parents that violate their court ordered parenting plan. In fact, Florida has a specific law that covers this situation.

Once a time-sharing schedule has been developed and approved by the court, it’s considered an actual Court Order. Judge’s have a variety of tools that they can use to enforce their previous orders. As mentioned above there is a specific statute that gives Florida judges specific power in these situations. This law is § 61.13, Fla. Stat., and includes the following possible consequences for violations of time-sharing.

What are the consequences of not following a parenting plan or time sharing plan in Florida?

The Court In Most Cases Must Award Make Up Time

Florida law is clear that, if the other parent refuses to honor time sharing (without proper cause), then the Court must order make up time. The make up time will be scheduled in a manner that is consistent with the best interests of the child. § 61.13(4)(c)(1), Fla. Stat. Additionally, the Court will order that this make up time sharing take place when it is convenient for the parent that did not violate the timesharing. Id

The Parent In Violation Might Have to Pay For Your Attorney’s Fees

The law says that if a parent violates time-sharing without proper cause then they are in jeopardy of having to pay the other parent’s attorney’s fee for having to go to court to enforce time-sharing. See § 61.13(4)(c)(2), Fla. Stat.

The Parent in Violation Might Have to Attend a Parenting Course

Not only may the parent in violation have to give up time, and pay attorney’s fees, but the Judge may also order that they attend a parenting course. § 61.13(4)(c)(3), Fla. Stat.

The Parent in Violation Might Have to Perform Community Service Hours

Florida law gives the judge the power to order the violating parent to perform a certain number of community service hours as punishment. § 61.13(4)(c)(4), Fla. Stat.

The Judge Can Modify Time-sharing 

Typically, modifying time-sharing is a difficult process. But when the other parent violates the time-sharing schedule, the judge does have the power and authority to modify the timesharing plan as long as it is in the best interest of the child. § 61.13(4)(c)(6), Fla. Stat.

This is an important aspect of the statute. If you are in a position where you feel that the timesharing schedule should be changed to give you more time AND the other parent is in violation of the parenting plan THEN you can potentially accomplish both of those goals at the same time. This can save you time and money.

Contempt of Court!

Since an established time-sharing schedule is an enforceable court order, contempt of court is always an available sanction. If held in contempt of court, there is the possibility of a fine, or even jail time! § 61.13(4)(d), Fla. Stat.

As you can see there are many penalties for those parents that violate time-sharing. As mentioned above, if you think it is in the best interest of your child to modify the time-sharing schedule then a violation may be the perfect opportunity to move forward with that goal.

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