What's involved with changing your child custody plan?

Your life circumstances and schedule will change from year to year. You might change jobs; your children's needs and schedules might change; or, you might get married to someone who has different scheduling needs.

If you're a divorced parent -- and you organize shared parenting with the other parent -- these changing factors, might require a change to your parenting plan. If you're currently facing the need to make adjustments like this, keep reading.

Talk with the other parent immediately about scheduling changes

The best way to change your parenting plan is to communicate with the other parent about your or your family's needs. This is the easiest way to make a change. If you can reach an agreement with the other parent, you'll file the new schedule with the court, and the court will typically accept it.

A family therapist, family counselor or child custody mediator can also be helpful in assisting you and your spouse to reach agreement if you need to make changes to your parenting plan. Ultimately, the vast majority of parenting plan alterations happen out of court due to the ease, speed and lower cost of resolving the matter this way.

What if I can't come to agreement about parenting plan changes?

When you and your ex cannot arrive at an out-of-court agreement regarding parenting plan changes, you might have to go to court. The first step in this process is the drafting of a petition to change your child custody order. After filing this with the appropriate family law court, you and your ex will go to a custody hearing to present your cases. The judge will then accept or deny the petition to change your custody orders.

Learn as much as you can about petitions to change custody orders

The more you learn about petitions to change child custody orders, the better chances you'll have of presenting your case appropriately so that you can get the child custody changes you require. When parents soundly and strategically present their cases, they will have better chances of success in this regard.

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