Maybe it has been a little over a year since your divorce and your life has finally started to feel normal again. Perhaps it has been many years since your divorce and your children are about to start high school.
Whether you created your own parenting plan cooperatively with your ex or a judge decided how to divide your parental rights and responsibilities, your parenting plan or custody order provides the framework for the relationship you have with your children and their other parents. Eventually, it may no longer do an adequate job of addressing your family’s needs.
When is it possible for you to make formal changes to the parenting plan?
When both of you agree on the need for change
Sometimes, co-parents mutually agree that a change to their parenting schedule or division of parenting time is necessary.
If the children have very different schedules now because of sports or if one of you has started a new relationship, both of you may agree that changing how you share parental responsibilities would benefit your entire family.
Parents can request an uncontested modification at any point during their divorce. They need to fill out paperwork together and ask a judge to modify their existing parenting plan.
When a change would be best for the children
Has your ex become neglectful about the children because of a new relationship or physically abusive toward them in what they claim is simply discipline?
There are situations in which you may believe that your co-parent is not acting in the best interests of your children and may endanger them. When there is evidence of neglect, abuse or similar issues affecting one parent’s ability to provide for the children, the courts may agree to modify the parenting plan to reflect those concerns.
Of course, you may have grounds for modification based on your improved situation or changing schedule, not necessarily serious problems on the part of the other parent. Provided that there has been a substantial change in circumstances, you can ask for a modification hearing to change your parenting schedule or get more time with the children even if your ex is not supportive of the idea.
If a judge agrees that the changes you suggest are in the best interests of the children, you could very well have more time with the children or an improved parenting schedule. Recognizing when it might be time to make an official change to your parenting arrangements can benefit your daily schedule and your relationship with your children.