Focusing On Family Law – And You
As divorced parents, you and your ex likely entered a set, binding child custody and visitation order. This order outlined which of you had the child in your care and when. These arrangements may have worked well for years, but lives change and sometimes an arrangement that was once viable is no longer feasible. When this happens, it may be necessary to seek a modification of your child custody and visitation order.
When to seek a modification
There are many life changes that could lead a parent to seek a modification of a child custody order. A parent may have gotten a new job or remarried and needed to move. Or, the child’s needs may have changed. After all the needs of a toddler are very different from the needs of a teenager. Ultimately, to modify a child custody and visitation order there must be a “change in circumstances.”
What is a change in circumstances?
The parent seeking the modification must be able to show there is a change in circumstances that make the current order inappropriate. This change must be significant. In addition, the new custody and visitation order must be in the child’s best interests. The focus is making changes that allow the child to have stability and consistency.
Changing a child custody and visitation order
Parents can work together to reach a new child custody and visitation settlement that can be approved by the court. Other times parents will need to reach out to the court to make these decisions if they cannot do so on their own. Depending on the circumstances, parents may need to revisit and renegotiate their parenting plan every two to three years. Some parents find mediation is helpful in renegotiating their parenting plan. In the end, it is important for parents to consider the best interests of the child before making any changes to an existing child custody and visitation order.