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Attorneys Vic Hill and Brad MacDonald

Do you need to modify your custody order?

Parents have to make tough decisions during divorce. They have to decide when they’ll see their children and how to make a custody schedule that is as simple as possible for their kids.

Usually, that initial plan is good for a year or two, but it does make sense that you would need to change it in the future. Why? That’s because children grow up, change, get involved in different activities and develop different needs.

There are also other issues that might require you to consider modifying your custody schedule, such as getting a promotion at work, needing to relocate or finding out that your child has been injured in the other parent’s care. All of these are potentially good reasons to turn to the court for help with a modification request.

How often can you modify your custody schedule?

Modifications are expected, but you shouldn’t be asking for them too often. Usually, the court will consider modifications when there has been a major change in your life, such as:

  • Getting a new job
  • Having a major change in income
  • Losing a job
  • Getting remarried to your former spouse
  • Getting remarried to a new spouse
  • Relocating
  • Health issues (involving the parent or child)

A good parenting plan may help you avoid full custody modifications in some cases, such as if your child is temporarily enrolled in a sport and you previously agreed to be flexible for those circumstances. However, if you see major changes to the schedule need to be made, then it is better for you to go to court and to have that change approved. This helps you document the new schedule so that both parents have to abide by it.

Every family is different. You will know that you need to modify your custody schedule if you’re having to be flexible on most days or if your custody times just aren’t lining up anymore. If you believe that a major life change is prompting a change in your child’s schedule, then it’s a good idea to look into your legal options for changing the custody schedule officially.