Sharing custody often gets easier with time. Parents and children alike will adjust to the frequent changes involved in shared custody. Everything will become part of your weekly routine. In fact, you and your ex may develop a friendly co-parenting relationship, given enough time. However, even as everyone in your family acclimates to your post-divorce parenting plan, you may start noticing that it no longer suits your needs.
Your children may have new activities that consume more of their time. You or your ex may start a new job or have other demands on your time that affect your availability. You may have more flexibility and want more parenting time. You might even be in a situation where you know that your ex has started dating someone with violent tendencies or a criminal record.
If the custody arrangements no longer adequately address your family’s needs, you might be able to ask for a modification from the courts.
How the modification process works
Provided that you have a situation that justifies a modification request, you can file for one with the courts. You will generally need to show that there has been a significant change in circumstances to justify filing a modification.
Modifications can sometimes be very simple. If your ex agrees with the need for change, as might be the case with a job and schedule adjustment, you can file an uncontested modification request. These simply require court review and approval to make them official.
However, if it’s a situation where you feel like you need to protect your children from something happening at your ex’s house or your ex doesn’t agree with your request for more parenting time, you may need to file a contested modification request because your ex does not agree with what you want.
In a contested modification request, you will go before a judge and have an opportunity to present evidence, ranging from medical records and criminal background to testimony, photographs and written communication. Your ex can submit evidence as well. The judge will then review the established parenting plan and make a decision that they believe will uphold the best interests of the children.
Provided that the changes you want will benefit the children and not just you, asking for a modification can be a smart move!