Mom and Daughter enjoying their time together

When Am I Eligible to Change a Parenting Plan?

Shelly Jean John, Attorney at Law April 7, 2021

During a marriage dissolution, both spouses often outline how their children will be raised using the parenting plan. However, changes in circumstance may cause the need to seek a modification of an existing court order or parenting plan. The 2017 Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support report indicates that an estimated 49.4% of custodial parents in the United States had a court decree, child support award, or some other informal arrangement to receive financial support from the non-custodial parent.

Here at my firm, the Law Office of Shelly Jean John, I am dedicated to offering experienced legal guidance to all of my clients dealing with family law-related issues. I'm available to discuss the circumstances surrounding your personal situation and explore all of your available options. Whether you are looking to modify a child custody agreement, a support order, or a visitation schedule, I can offer you the comprehensive legal counsel and advocacy you need to navigate important decisions. My firm is proud to represent individuals and families throughout Ontario, Riverside, San Bernardino County, and Riverside County, California.

Can Parenting Plans Be Modified?

A parenting plan can be described as a written agreement between the divorcing or separating spouses outlining how their children will be raised following the marriage dissolution. The parenting plan contains detailed information pertaining to child custody, support payments, and visitation periods.

Also, the parenting agreement will outline how any decisions regarding their children's education, religion, and healthcare will be made. As part of the divorce proceedings, a parenting plan may be requested by the California family courts.

Pursuant to California Family Code section 3087,

"An order for joint custody may be modified or terminated upon the petition of one or both parents or on the court's own motion if it is shown that the best interest of the child requires modification or termination of the order. If either parent opposes the modification or termination order, the court shall state in its decision the reasons for modification or termination of the joint custody order."

What Circumstances Qualify for Modification?

In order to seek a change of the child custody or visitation order, the party requesting for the modification must show that:

  • There has been a significant "change in circumstances" since the initial order was made.

  • The new arrangement will be in the child's best interest.

Some examples of change in circumstances that may require a parenting plan modification include the following:

Custody and Visitation

  • Changes in the work schedule of the non-custodial parent

  • Relocation

  • One parent is acting irresponsible or negligent

  • The child is at risk of being placed on a remedial educational track

  • Intentionally violating custody or visitation orders

  • Allegations of domestic violence or child abuse

  • Changes in the child's preference


  • Increase in the child's special needs or additional expenses

  • Involuntary loss of job

  • Decrease in the parent's income

  • Securing a much higher paying job

  • Remarriage

  • Income tax considerations

  • The child has become disabled or needs more medical care

  • Changes in parenting time

What's The Process for Making a Modification?

Either parent can request a change in the existing custody and visitation order. Below are the processes involved in seeking modification of a parenting plan:

  • Obtain and fill out the Request for Order form (Form FL-300)

  • Have your attorney review the forms

  • Make extra copies of all court forms

  • File your forms with the county court clerk

  • Serve your papers on the other parent

  • Fill out and file your Proof of Personal Service (Form FL-330)

  • Schedule a court date and attend the court hearing

Some family courts may require both parents to attend an orientation before the mediation or hearing. An experienced attorney can review your unique circumstances and fight compassionately to protect your rights and your family's best interests.

How the Law Office of Shelly Jean John Can Help

Filing for a parenting plan modification involves several complex procedures. If you believe that circumstances have changed since your existing child custody or support order was made, consulting with a knowledgeable Florida child custody attorney is important for detailed guidance and to explore your possible legal options.

At the Law Office of Shelly Jean John, I have devoted my career to handling family law cases and guiding clients through the complexities of parenting plan modifications. As your legal counsel, I will evaluate your personal situation and help you understand your available options. Using my extensive experience, I will work diligently with both parents to establish a fair parenting agreement, including child support, custody, and visitation periods.

If you are considering a modification to your parenting plan, contact my firm — the Law Office of Shelly Jean John — today to schedule a one-on-one case assessment. I can offer you the comprehensive legal guidance, support, and advocacy you need to navigate any key decisions along the way. My firm proudly represents clients across Ontario, Riverside, San Bernardino County, and Riverside County, California. Call or reach out today to get the help you need!