Custody orders usually include broad terminology so that they remain appropriate and effective even when personal circumstances change. You and your spouse or the courts probably tried to create a custody order with terms that would still work for your family even when your children got older.
Sometimes parenting plans don’t adequately reflect the needs of a family’s situation after some time. If any of the following three scenarios apply to your family, it might be time for you to consider asking for a custody modification to update your parenting plan.
Your ex doesn’t abide by the terms of the custody order
If your ex has stopped coming to pick up the children or often cancels their parenting time at the last minute, you are the one scrambling to change your plans to accommodate them. If one parent has made it clear that they don’t intend to follow the terms set in the custody order, the courts might approve a modification with terms that more closely reflect the current division of parenting time.
A move or job change has affected living arrangements or schedules
If either parent moves, takes a new job or otherwise changes where they live and when they have time to parent their children, a modification might help the family. Changing the parenting schedule to reflect the longer commute between houses or someone’s new work schedule will make things easier for the whole family.
You don’t think that your children are safe
Maybe your ex has a violent new romantic partner who threatens or scares your children. Maybe the kids have come home hungry or with bruises, making you worry about neglect or physical abuse. If your ex isn’t capable of parenting your children and providing a safe environment for them due to their choices, mental health issues or addiction, you may need to ask for a modification to keep your children safe.
The courts will look at the best interests of your children when deciding if a custody modification is appropriate. Provided that you take action to benefit your children and not just yourself, a modification can be a wise decision.