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Modifying child custody: Aging children

| Apr 22, 2019 | Firm News |

When you originally set up a custody schedule, your child was young. She only needed to go to elementary school, and she didn’t have many extracurricular activities to worry about.

Now, as she approaches her mid-teen years, you’re finding that she has much more to do. She’s spending more time with friends, and many of them live close to your ex-spouse.

This is what has prompted you to begin thinking about modifying your child custody arrangements. The court does allow you to seek changes in your custody arrangements if you and the other parent agree (and also in some cases where you don’t). If you and your ex-spouse can agree on the new arrangements, a custody modification should not take long at all. If you don’t, then you’ll have to petition the court for the change and may need to have a judge make a decision on your request.

What can you expect if you want to change your custody arrangements?

If your ex-spouse agrees that the custody arrangements you have now aren’t working, then you may both come up with a new schedule that works better. So long as the new schedule is in your child’s best interests, you can submit it to the court for approval. Your attorney can help you submit it, so that the new schedule can be enforced in the future if necessary.

In the meantime, it’s okay to test out the new schedule before it’s officially implemented, especially if you both agree. Switching the schedule on paper takes only a short time once it reaches a judge, but it can take some time to get through the legal process. Parents can feel free to change custody times as long as they can agree on the terms. If not, it’s best to stick with your old schedule until you’re able to get an official modification for your child.

Can you change your child’s schedule often?

Unless there is some kind of emergency, it’s unlikely. Usually, courts hear modification requests only once every two years if there are no major changes in the circumstances of the parties involved. This is something to keep in mind if you don’t think the changes will work out in the long term.

Your attorney can help you prepare the petition to modify your child custody schedule if you’re ready to ask the court for its approval.