Child Custody Modification
This article covers the information you need to know before you modify your parenting agreement. Explains the conditions necessary for renegotiations.
A custody modification is a court action that you file to change your parenting plan or custody agreement.
A custody modification is also called a petition to change the custody order. This is because once the judge approves a parenting plan it becomes a legal document called the custody order and to change the order you need to petition the court.
To modify your plan, you make changes to it and have the other parent or the court approve the changes. To make the changes, you can make simple revisions to your current plan or you can create an entirely new plan. You can do this on your own or with an attorney.
Custody X Change can help you change your plan.
Custody X Change is software that creates parenting plans and custody schedules. You can use the software to create a modified or new plan and schedule and then print documents to show the other parent or the court.
You can use Custody X Change to:
- Negotiate changes to the agreement with the other parent
- Work with your attorney to modify your agreement and schedule
- Prepare a modified plan to present in court
- Track your actual parenting time to know if your schedule is being followed
- Show actual-time documents to support and explain your modifications
You can make any changes to your plan that will benefit your child. These changes can be major or minor modifications.
Some common major modifications are:
- Changing the custodial parent
- Making big changes to the custody schedule
- Changing who makes decisions for your child
Some common minor modifications are:
- Changing holidays around
- Lengthening visits with a parent as your child gets older
- Adding vacation time as your child gets older
- Adjusting your custody schedule to accommodate new work schedules
- Adding provisions as your child gets older and the needs change
- Changing the place of exchanges
If you want to change child support you specifically need to file a modification of child support. This is different than modifying your parenting plan.
The court needs to approve your new parenting plan. If you and the other parent agree on the changes to your parenting plan, you can simply make a new parenting plan together and submit it to the court.
If you and the other parent do not agree on the changes to the plan, you will need to go to court and let a judge decide about the changes.
To go to court, you will need to file a petition to change the custody order or custody agreement. Then you and the other parent will present your cases to the court and the judge will decide if the change to the plan is best for the child.
If you want to change your plan, you should first consult the other parent. If you and the other parent agree on the modification, the court will see it as necessary and approve it.
If the other parent doesn't agree with your proposed changes, you will need to prove to the court that a modification is necessary. To do this, you need to show that there has been a change in your child's life or in the lives of the parents. For a major modification you will need to show that there has been a substantial change of circumstances.
Some changes in circumstance that warrant a modification are:
- Both parents agree to the changes
- The child's residence isn't safe
- The current parenting time schedule isn't being followed
- The parents' work schedules have changed
- A parent is moving
- The child is getting older
- The family situation has changed
- A change is in the best interest of the child
You will need to have documents that show the change in circumstances and then be able to explain how your modification will benefit your child and work for the new circumstances.
You can use the documents from Custody X Change to show the court that a modification is necessary. With the software, you can track actual parenting time and print reports that show the difference between scheduled and actual time. Then you can show the court that the schedule needs to be changed.
You can also use the software to keep a custody journal where you write notes about parenting time. You can then use your notes to show the court how the circumstances have changed.
You can use these documents from Custody X Change to present your new plan to the court:
- a calendar of the custody schedule
- a written report of the schedule
- a list of the provisions
- a detailed timeshare report
The software also lets you export all of your documents to Word, PDF, and Excel so you can make changes as you need to.
If you have a court approved parenting plan and the other parent doesn't follow it, you can go back to court and show that the other parent is in contempt. To do this, you file a motion for contempt, not for a custody modification.
You will need to prove to the judge that the other parent isn't following the plan. Then, the judge will determine the punishment for the other parent (usually a fine).
If you have an agreement between you and the other parent that has never been approved by the court, the court cannot help you enforce it. You need to file your plan with the court and have a judge approve it so you can go to court if the other parent doesn't follow the plan.
To avoid going to court and to encourage the other parent to follow the custody schedule, you can track your schedule and keep a custody journal. Often, the other parent will start following the schedule if you show that you are keeping track of when it isn't being followed.
Custody X Change has an actual-time tracking and journaling feature that lets you:
- Enter in the actual parenting time and compare it to the scheduled parenting time
- Print a report that shows the difference between scheduled and actual parenting time
- Keep a custody journal and write notes about what happens during parenting time
- Print your parenting time journal
- Keep all of your tracking information in one place
- Use the documents from the software to show the court that the plan isn't being followed