Reasons to Modify Your Child Custody Agreement

upward angle of child reaching out for parent's sunglasses

Life takes you in unexpected directions. For instance, you may be divorced and sharing custody. You probably didn’t expect to be in this situation when you first got married.

The changes don’t stop coming, even after your divorce. Often, people find that the original divorce orders no longer work. This is particularly true for child custody agreements. As your kids age, their lives change alongside yours. The original plan may simply become irrelevant.

Ultimately, you and your former spouse can alter your parenting plan for any reason, as long as you agree. Doing so, however, is time-consuming, and you want to make sure a new plan will work on a semi-permanent basis.

With that in mind, here are some valid reasons to alter your existing parenting plan.

You Job Schedule Has Changed

Parenting is as much about time as it is about anything else. Moving from one shift to another can disrupt your whole life, making it impossible to follow any of your original plans.

You Have Remarried

Sharing your life with someone can alter your life significantly. Perhaps your new marriage demands much more of your time, making it harder to see the kids.

Alternatively, a new marriage may make it easier for you to take the kids for longer stretches. Maybe you didn’t have a strong support system of helpful adults. When you remarried, however, that changed. There is another adult in the house who can help, and you can also get support from their friends or family members that you’ve befriended.

You Move Locations

Distance is one of the most important factors in a parenting plan. It affects every aspect of co-parenting, regardless of whether parents are close or far apart.

Moving changes your ability to see the kids. It completely alters schedules, travel, and so on. It also impacts the amount of time you can spend with the kids, as you must factor travel into that equation. This is true whether you move closer or further away.

Your Relationship with the Children Changes

Divorce can leave bitter feelings and strain relationships between parents and their kids. Courts want to operate in the best interests of the children, and your original plan may have considered this strain.

Over time, however, this relationship could have mended. You and your child have put your differences aside, growing closer and more loving. This could make both you and them willing to spend more time together.

On a sadder note, however, the opposite could be true. Perhaps the rift between parent and child widens, and it is better for both to spend less time together.

Making Changes to Your Parenting Plan

Parents always have the right to collaborate, making any the wish to their original plan. If you can work with your ex amicably, this is the best option. Make sure, however, to run your final agreement by an attorney. They can help make sure you didn’t miss any important steps.

For parents who need more help negotiating, we recommend mediation. In this process, you both meet with a legal professional who can help you communicate. This person works for you both, so there are no concerns about who “wins” or “loses.” They want you both to walk away happy.

After creating your new plan, submit it to the court, and you can start following it right away.

If you need help rewriting your original parenting plan, contact our firm for help. You can call us at (410) 593-0040 or reach out online.

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