Modifying Your Parenting Plan and Schedule
Working with your child's other parent is the easiest way to modify your parenting plan and custody schedule. If you and the other parent agree to the changes, you can file your new plan with the court and the court will usually accept it.
If you and the other parent want to work together to modify your plan but have a hard time cooperating, you can use a family counselor or custody mediation to help create your new plan.
Use Custody X Change to create a modified or new plan and schedule and then print documents to show the other parent or the court.
You can also include provisions in your parenting plan about how you and the other parent will revise the plan in the future. If you already have parent communication provisions in your plan you can follow them to modify your plan.
If you want to modify your parenting plan but your child's other parent doesn't agree to the changes, you will need to go to court.
To modify your plan through the court, you need to file a child custody modification or a petition to change the custody order. Then you and the other parent will attend a custody hearing and present your cases to the judge. The judge will decide if the modified plan is accepted by the court.
When you go to court, you need to show that there has been a change in your child's life or the parents' lives that make changes to the plan necessary. For a major modification you need to show that there has been a substantial change in circumstances.
Some changes in circumstance that warrant a modification are:
- The child's residence isn't safe
- A parent is moving
- A parent's work schedule has changed
- The child is older
- The family situation has changed
- The current parenting time schedule isn't being followed
You should have documents that show the change in circumstance and be able to explain how your modification will benefit your child and work for the new situation.
Documents that show the judge your schedule or plan need modification could include:
- A custody journal with notes about problems with the plan as they occurred
- A report that shows actual parenting time compared to scheduled time
- New school or activity schedules that impact the parenting time schedule
- Evidence of a new job or relocation from you or the other parent
- Statements from doctors, teachers or other witnesses
- Statements from older children about their wishes regarding the schedule or plan
- Paperwork that reveals unfit behavior from the other parent
If the judge approves your modification then the new parenting plan becomes official. If the judge does not accept your changes, you must follow your current parenting plan.