What Happens When Your Custody Agreement Is No Longer Working Out?

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Divorces can be messy or they can actually be amicable. The same goes for a custody arrangement when children are involved. Usually, the parents go into the situation in good faith and work out a deal that works for them and the children.

However, life is complicated and rarely proceeds in a straight line. There are always going to be ups and downs. One thing that makes it even more complicated is when a life situation changes your custody agreement. Suddenly, it may not be working out like it had been before. 

For whatever reason, if it isn’t working for you then you have to take certain steps to see about modifying it. In this article, we will go over what you can do to change your custody agreement. 

How big a change is it?

There are what are considered minor and major modifications to your child custody agreement. The process to make changes will depend on whether the court deems them to be major or minor. 

According to Skyview Law, major changes are things like how the week will be split as far as who gets weekdays and weekends. If they are going to flip then this is major.

Going from split custody to total or sole custody with or without visitation rights would also be considered major. Basically, anything that would result in one or both parties having to make a radical change in their life. 

Minor ones are something like a short term change in the hours or days that pick ups happen, for instance. Maybe one of the parents has a work schedule change for a week or a few months that affects their ability to stick to the arrangement but can go back to it after. If both sides agree to the modifications then there is no issue here. 

Minor changes can even be permanent. Such as if you have to pick up a child from school instead of from the other parent’s home on certain days. 

When does the court get involved?

Most of the time a minor modification to the arrangement can be done without the court having to get involved. As long as both parties agree to the changes then a court doesn’t need to be involved in the decision. 

However, if one of the parents were to move away and not be able to maintain the agreement as it is then this is a case in which a judge will have to make a decision. Any major change that will require one of the parents to make major structural changes to their life to accommodate the modification will likely lead to a court decision. 

Any changes that are contested will also need to be done before a judge. A judge may dismiss the request based on a number of criteria. It’s best to make sure that you bring enough evidence with you to a hearing for Adequate Cause that can help you get the judge to award the modifications. 

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