You and your ex-spouse set up a child custody plan around three years ago, and it worked great while your child was young. Now that they’re pushing into the teen years, they’re asking for more independence and have complaints about your current custody schedule.

Custody schedules don’t always work for a child’s entire life. Modifying child custody is relatively normal, and it’s something the courts see frequently. If you and your ex-spouse find that modifying custody would be beneficial to you and your family, then it’s time to take steps to do so.

How do you change a custody schedule?

To start with, if you and the other parent can agree on a new schedule, then you can file the new plan with the court. In most cases, the court will approve the new plan, and you can convert over to that plan when you’re ready.

If you and the other parent want to switch plans but are having a hard time agreeing on one, then you may want to consider speaking with your attorneys and negotiating through them. You can also consider going through mediation, where you can negotiate a plan that works best for everyone involved.

There are also cases where parents can’t agree on changes to a custody plan. That’s relatively normal, too. In that situation, you’ll need to petition the court for a modification of the original court order. Your attorneys will help you petition the court and present your cases, so that the judge hears both sides and what each parent wants. They may also speak with your child in some instances.

Once a judge hears your cases, they will decide how the custody plan should be changed. If you presented the plan the judge agrees with, for example, they may approve it directly.

What do you need to do to prepare for a custody modification hearing?

If you want to prepare for a custody hearing, you will need to first decide how you’ll show that a modification is necessary due to a substantial change in your circumstances. To do that, you will need to put together a collection of documents that prove the need for the modification, such as new school activity schedules, statements from medical providers, teachers or witnesses, statements from your child or children about where they’d like to live, and others.

Your San Antonio family law attorney will discuss the exact documents that you need, so that you can prepare for court.