Once your divorce finalizes and you and your child’s other parent begin working through the process of actually raising your child separately, you may find that your custody arrangement simply doesn’t work with your needs or circumstances. In some cases, this is due to poor foresight while crafting your custody agreement, whereas in other cases, a parent’s income or health may change significantly, making it infeasible to abide by the existing arrangement .
If you believe that you need to modify your custody order, it is important to play by the rules and petition the court for an official modification rather than simply bypassing the court and working out a personal understanding with your ex. While in theory this may function just as well, it is always possible for the other party to document all the ways in which you vary from the custody order and use this against you in the future.
It is much wiser to present the court with compelling grounds to alter the arrangement, such as:
- A significant increase or decrease in income.
- A loss of work or loss of the ability to perform work.
- Other hardships that make it impossible to abide by the arrangement.
While altering the custody order takes some time, it is always helpful to follow the proper procedures in these matters to keep both sides safe and avoid the temptation for one side to throw the other under the bus for going around the custody order. If a court does see that you are not abiding by the order, it may revoke your privileges.
Don’t put off doing what is right for you and your family. Make sure that you have a strong legal strategy to protect your child custody rights as you work toward a custody arrangement that represents your rights and priorities and helps create the best life you can give to your child.