There are many reasons why a court-issued custody order may no longer serve the intended purpose for your family. Perhaps your work schedule has changed because you have moved on to a new profession. Maybe your children are the ones with the change to their schedule because they are now in high school or have started playing middle school sports.
There are countless reasons why family circumstances change in a way that makes the existing parenting plan ineffective. The constant need to adjust your schedule can make your daily life unpredictable and can complicate your relationship with the other parent of your children.
How can you update a parenting plan that no longer fully meets your family’s needs?
You can make informal, short-term adjustments
Sometimes the only issue with a parenting plan is that you need to make a few timing changes because your daily schedule is different than it was before.
When the changes that your family requires don’t affect the overall division of parenting time and when the two of you can agree about the appropriate solution, you can make informal arrangements with your ex to pick up and drop off the kids at a different time or on different days of the week.
However, if the two of you can’t agree on those changes or if they affect the overall division of parenting time, then it may be time to ask for a modification.
You can formally change the custody order
Although you have to go back to family court to do so, it is possible for you to officially adjust or modify the existing custody order for your family. If you and your ex agree about the changes, you can request an uncontested modification and have the courts update your orders accordingly.
When you have been unable to settle the matter on your own, a contested or litigated modification may be necessary. A judge will review the custody order and the changes to your family circumstances to determine what updates would be in the best interests of the children.
Taking the right steps to adjust your parenting plan as family circumstances change will minimize the friction between you and your ex as you co-parent together.