Michelle P. HUTCHINSON, Former Wife, Appellant,
Mark H. HUTCHINSON, Former Husband, Appellee.
appeal from the Circuit Court for Okaloosa County. John Jay
Puro of Ashley Puro, P.A., Destin, for Appellant.
H. Henderson of Oberliesen & Henderson, Shalimar, for
Michelle P. Hutchinson appeals an order modifying a final
judgment of dissolution of marriage. She argues that the
erred in modifying the parties timesharing for their son and
in changing the child support obligation. We agree and
reverse because Mark H. Hutchinson did not show a substantial
change in circumstances, a necessary condition for
modification of timesharing.
parties marriage was dissolved in 2011. They had one minor
child, who was 7 years old when the final judgment was
entered. The timesharing plan called for their son to reside
with the mother during the school week and have alternating
timesharing with the father on weekends. The child was to
spend half of the summer vacation with each parent. However,
from 2011 to 2017, Mr. Hutchinson informally exercised more
timesharing than provided for in the final judgment.
2017, the parties informal cooperation ended, and they began
to more closely follow the timesharing arrangement from the
final judgment. Ms. Hutchinson also moved to another home
within the county and registered her son at another more
convenient district school. She tried to speak with her
ex-husband about the school change, but apparently their
communications broke down and he wasnt told.
Hutchinson subsequently filed a petition to modify the final
judgment in the trial court. After taking evidence, the trial
court ruled that Mr. Hutchinson had proven a substantial
change in circumstances and that the childs best interest
favored a new 50/50 timesharing arrangement. The court also
modified the parties respective child support obligations in
line with the new timesharing plan.
entitled to modification of timesharing, the moving party
"must show that (1) circumstances have substantially and
materially changed since the original custody determination,
(2) the change was not reasonably contemplated by the
parties, and (3) the childs best interests justify changing
custody." Korkmaz v. Korkmaz, 200 So.3d 263,
265 (Fla. 1st DCA 2016) (quoting Reed v. Reed, 182
So.3d 837, 840 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016)). This required proof
imposes an "extraordinary burden" on the party
seeking modification. Ragle v. Ragle, 82 So.3d 109,
111 (Fla. 1st DCA 2011) (quoting Boykin v. Boykin,
843 So.2d 317, 320 (Fla. 1st DCA 2003)). "Practically
speaking, this means that the parent requesting the
modification must establish more than an acrimonious
relationship and a lack of effective communication in order
to show a substantial change of circumstances. "
Korkmaz, 200 So.3d at 266 (quoting Sanchez v.
Hernandez, 45 So.3d 57, 62 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010)). Nor
will relocation of one parent, by itself, always constitute a
change in circumstances. See Ogilvie v.
Ogilvie, 954 So.2d 698, 701 (Fla. 1st DCA 2007);
Ragle, 82 So.3d at 112.
Mr. Hutchinson alleged that his ex-wife had limited the time
he spent with his son, changed the childs school without
notifying him, and had moved several times. But these
circumstances dont prove a substantial change in
circumstances. There was no evidence, for instance, that Ms.
Hutchinson denied Mr. Hutchinson the timesharing ordered by
the final judgment. Rather, the parties adopted an informal
timesharing arrangement for a while after the final judgment
that gave Mr. Hutchinson more time with his son. In 2017,
contrary to Mr. Hutchinsons wishes, the timesharing reverted
back to more ...