There is a saying that the best laid plans often go awry, and this is certainly relevant in child custody cases. If you are going to share custody of your kids, you and your ex may spend hours and hours creating a parenting plan that you both agree with. However, things can change.
Below, we look at why and how parenting plans can be modified. We also provide a few suggestions for what you can do when your plans go awry.
Why parenting plans change
Over time, people’s needs and capabilities change, and these changes can make initial plans impossible or no longer reflective of a child’s best interests.
In situations where these changes are substantial, the courts may approve a modification. This might include a parent moving away or a child’s needs dramatically changing. Plans can also be modified when parents agree to a revised order.
How parenting plans can be changed
Parents cannot just decide to alter their custody plan on their own. They must secure permission from the same court that approved the initial plan. If parents agree to a modification, they must still file a stipulation with the court.
In other words, custody modifications are legal processes that require specific action. Failure to comply with the legal procedures could leave parents exposed to claims of custody violations and the penalties associates with such an offense.
What to do if your parenting plan just isn’t working
If you and the other parent simply cannot make an existing custody order work, or if circumstances have changed in such a way that the order is no longer appropriate, don’t panic or assume you are without options.
Instead, make every effort to continue to comply with the existing custody order, unless doing so puts your child in danger.
Then you will want to talk to your attorney as soon as possible to assess your legal options. In some cases, it may be as simple as filing a stipulation with the court. In other cases, the process can be more complicated. Whatever the situation may be, having an attorney by your side when your plans go awry can prove to be a source of great relief.