Custody and parenting time are designed to remain unchanged. But, the needs of your children will evolve and your circumstances might change so substantially that it warrants a change in your custody arrangement or parenting schedule. If you believe a modification is necessary, discuss it with your co-parent first. Reaching an agreement will save you a substantial amount of time and effort. However, you will still need to go through the proper legal channels to ensure your new agreement is enforceable and to avoid encountering any unnecessary obstacles and disruption to your children if your co-parent has a change of heart.
Requesting a Modification
If you and your co-parent cannot agree to a modification of the parenting schedule, the petitioning parent must file a motion with the court. Generally, a judge will only grant a request to modify the parenting schedule if there is a proper cause or a substantial change in circumstances.
- Proper cause: For something to be considered proper cause, it must have a notable impact on the children.
- Substantial change in circumstances: Something beyond the normal changes that occur in one’s life took place.
Below are some examples of proper cause and changes in circumstance, which a judge will consider when deciding if a modification of the parenting plan serves the children’s best interests:
- One of the parents is abusing alcohol or drugs
- One of the parents is missing
- One of the parents regularly fails to provide proper care for the children
- One of the parents neglected or abused the children
- The work schedule of a parent changed
- The children’s school routine changed
- One of the children wants to partake in more activities and it will cut into parenting time
Below are examples of changes that a judge will usually not consider when determining if a modification should be granted:
- A parent is experiencing financial problems that an increase in child support can solve
- The children experience normal changes in desires and needs
- The children wish to change the custody arrangement but no other substantial changes are present
Moreover, a modification of the parenting schedule must still address the best interests of the children. If the parent requesting the modification cannot prove a substantial change in circumstances or proper cause, or that a modification would be in the best interests of the children, a judge will not consider granting the request.
Speak to a Knowledgeable Family Law Attorney Today!
If you wish to make changes to your parenting schedule, you will need a knowledgeable legal advocate on your side to advise you throughout the process. At the Law Offices of Elaine Stypula, our family law attorney will provide the exceptional legal assistance you need to ensure you obtain the best possible results for your circumstances. With over two decades of legal experience and a history of success, you can trust that our team has what it takes to help you resolve any family law matter, no matter how complex it might be.
Get started on the process and reach outto our law firm today at (248) 565-3800 to set up a consultation with our compassionate family law attorney to discuss the details of your case.