Florida Law & Legal Remedies for Timesharing No-Shows
In Tampa Bay and Florida, time-sharing is not only designed to help children foster a relationship with both parents, but it also serves to reduce the expenses of divorced or unmarried parents who substantially share time with their children. Depending on what your parenting plan indicates, a child support order is likely part of your final order. This order will be based in part on the amount of timeshare between the two parents. Many parents recognize this as the amount of overnight visits, holidays and other designated time ordered for each parent. TImesharing is not always 50/50, but a percentage of timesharing will be ordered for each parent and almost always does reflect in the amount of child support awarded.
We frequently read about parents who withhold timesharing from their ex, but not much is written about what you can do when the parent who pays child support is not showing up to exercise their timesharing. Because child support does take into consideration overnight visits and the amount of timesharing for each parent, when one parent does not show up, it basically increases that parent’s expenses for the children. Additionally, one parent’s work schedule may have been arranged around the original parenting plan, but because of the no-shows, now, that parent must rearrange their work schedule and/or incur additional costs for childcare or other expenses for the children. Finally, but perhaps most importantly, it can be an emotional roller coaster for the children who are expecting timesharing with a parent who doesn’t show up.
What Legal Action can Parents Take when Parenting Plans are Not Being Followed?
There are remedies available to parents in this situation that can help to alleviate the additional financial stress and to help to maintain a balanced parenting plan that is in their child’s best interest. Until a parent initiate’s legal action against the offending party, it is highly unlikely their ex will offer more child support or suddenly start abiding by an existing timesharing order. This is especially true if they have a situation where timesharing was only agreed to in an effort to reduce the amount of child support that would be ordered. Regardless of the reasons why a parent is not abiding by their parenting plan, there are legal actions that you can take to rectify the situation. You do not have to settle for the willful disregard of any family law order, including when your ex is not abiding by your parenting plan.
A violation of a parenting plan is a violation. It does not only apply to the parent who refuses to allow their child to share time with the other or in cases where parental alienation is present. It also applies to parents who simply refuse to pick up their children or who are doing so at their own convenience. All too frequently, some parents just stop showing up. When this happens, it is a situation that is most likely not in the best interest of the child or children. Although no presumption is made for 50/50 timesharing in Florida, it is common. When it is ordered, the courts assume that it is in the best interest of the children. But, if one parent unilaterally decides to reduce their own timesharing to much less time or no time at all, it’s fair to assume that the best interest of the children is not being considered. It can be confusing and disruptive when a child looks forward to timesharing with mom or dad and they don’t show up. Some parents won’t seek legal representation and assume that they have no legal recourse or it will be a futile attempt to approach the courts. But there is help and hope. Hiring a Tampa child custody & timesharing attorney is truly the first step to finding the resolve you need and helps you to protect the very best interests of you and your family.
You Don’t Need the Financial Assistance (Child Support)
Parents who suddenly have more timesharing not reflected in their original court order may not need the financial assistance (child support) from their ex to get by. Filing for a modification of timesharing or child support or seeking restitution via a contempt order may seem unnecessary. But we believe that it can be highly beneficial to take the legal steps that can help parents protect their financial interests, but also the best interests of their child’s emotional well-being. A parenting plan that best reflects your current situation can alleviate the problematic side effects that children can suffer when a parent isn’t showing up. Additional orders from the court can also help to provide access to resources that can help them better cope with their situation.
Modification of Timesharing – Substantial, Unexpected & Permanent Change
If your ex has not been maintaining regular contact or abiding by the court ordered parenting plan, it is always in your best interest to keep a log of any correspondence or efforts you have made to help them abide by your court order. Any information that shows that you have been reasonable and flexible in accommodating your ex is also very beneficial. Remember, not showing up once or twice or being occasionally late, is far different than a parent who stops showing up at all or who has a history of showing up at their convenience. It can be very beneficial to keep a detailed record of all communications and no-shows as it applies to timesharing. This can assist your attorney in proving to the courts that a substantial and unexpected change has occurred and that it is permanent in nature. It can also speak to willful contempt of a court order.
What Can a Family Judge Do to Help?
It’s important to understand that the courts cannot compel a parent to share time with a child. A Tampa Bay family law judge can find that parent in contempt, however. The courts can order them to pay fines, fees or even order jail time depending on the severity of the case. The courts can also award attorney fees for the non-offending parent. More importantly, a judge can modify the parenting plan and child support order to best reflect the current situation, the overall needs of the children including their emotional well-being. Mediation and/or parenting coordinators can be highly effective tools and resources for settling problematic family law matters. But hiring experienced Family Law Attorneys in Tampa who have proven mediation and litigation skills will be your best first step to finding resolve. This is especially true in high conflict child custody and family law matters.
Tampa Family Lawyer – Looking to the Best Interest of Your Family
Although not impossible, it can be very difficult for most people to navigate the Tampa Bay Family Court System without help. Nilo J Sanchez & Associates has over two decades of experience. Mr. Sanchez is a top rated family Law Attorney located in Tampa, Florida. Respected by industry peers and clients alike, Attorney Sanchez & Associates offers the skill, compassion and determination you need when you need to find resolve for the best of interest of your family.
Family Lawyers Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough County, FL
Learn more about our Family Law Attorneys in Tampa and how we can help you in the following areas that pertain to child custody in Tampa Bay. We offer top-notch legal representation you deserve when you need a child custody attorney in Pasco County, Hillsborough County and in Pinellas County, FL.
- Parental relocation with a minor child
- Contempt & Enforcement of Timesharing
- Modify Family Law Orders & COVID19
- Establishing Paternity in Tampa Bay
- Setting or Amending Child Support & Timesharing
- Emergency Pick up Orders
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