Think about the changes that you might have experienced in the last year or so. You might have started or ended a relationship, moved, changed jobs or taken a vacation that changed your outlook on life. If you’re a parent, you might have helped your child through changes like new schools, new friends and navigating new life experiences.
In other words, a lot might have changed for you and your children. Under these circumstances, you could be wondering if your current child custody order is still appropriate. If you believe it is not, then you might consider seeking a modification of your current custody order. However, there are a few important things you should first.
You need a court’s approval
Making informal changes or tweaks to your custody plan may seem harmless and easy, especially when you are co-parenting amicably and agree on the changes. However, parents are encouraged not to do this outside of the parameters their custody order allows, as it could ultimately cause serious problems.
Without a court’s approval to modify your custody order, it cannot enforce the changes. If you or your ex decides to violate the informally modified order, there may be no consequence if the action does not also violate the original order.
Not all changes are created equal
If changes in your life or your child’s life have sparked an interest in modifying a custody order, know that there are different levels of change when it comes to these motions. Small, insignificant changes generally will not support order modification.
However, in accordance with state laws, substantial changes in circumstances that affect a child’s well-being could lead to modification. This might include distant moves, incarceration, extensive medical needs of either parent or child, abuse allegations and other situations that would have an adverse effect on a child unless a custody order is modified.
Legal guidance can be crucial
Custody modifications can be vital to protecting the well-being of a child and the rights of parents, so it is important to take them seriously. Discussing the options with legal representation can be critical for any parent who has questions or concerns about modifying an existing court order.