One of the more challenging aspects to come out of a separation or divorce is when you and your ex must sit down and sort out custody. It’s unlikely that either one of you wants to miss monumental events in your child’s life, so coming up with a parenting plan can be challenging — to say the least.
What if the parenting plan you put in place doesn’t actually work? When might you be eligible for a modification of an existing order?
Following a significant shift in circumstances
Generally, you must show that there’s been a substantial change in circumstances to warrant a custody modification. Some examples of situations that may provoke the need for a change include:
- Your co-parent’s recent onset of a debilitating medical condition
- Newfound allegations of abuse or neglect
- Your co-parent’s arrest on criminal charges, such as drug possession or drunk driving
- A recent shift in your co-parent’s work schedule
- Your co-parent’s remarriage
- Your child needs to transfer to a different school
Judges are entrusted with making decisions that are in the child’s best interests. When circumstances in either a parent’s life or the child’s life change, what the court sees as being in their best interests may also change.
Custody modifications don’t always have to be litigated
One misconception that parents have is that custody modifications have to be litigated. That’s not necessary. It is possible for you and your ex to reach a private, mutual modification agreement, even though a judge will ultimately have to sign off on it for it to be enforceable.
You should take time to learn more about when modifications may be allowed and the steps that you need to take to justify to a judge why it’s in your child’s best interests to sign off on such a request.