When two parents have gone through a divorce, ensuring the parenting plan is fair and equitable for all parties involved can be difficult. The judge looks at several factors, the main one being what is in the child’s best interest.
There may however come a need to modify a court-ordered parenting plan in the month or years that follow the divorce.
Reasons for modification
A parenting plan may need to be modified for various reasons. Here are some common situations that may necessitate a change:
- One parent may need to move due to work or other personal reasons.
- As children grow older, their needs and preferences can change, such as activities, health needs, or simply their desire to spend more time with one parent.
- Significant changes in a parent’s life, including health issues or work schedule
- One parent consistently violates the terms of the current parenting plan, such as refusing to adhere to stipulations within the agreement.
- Concerns about a child’s safety or well-being due to neglect, abuse, or a parent’s substance abuse
The parent seeking modification will need to prepare several documents, including a summons, petition for modification, proposed parenting plan and a change in child support, if applicable.
The forms must be filed with the county clerk in the Superior Court where either parent or the child resides or where the original order was filed.
After serving the other parent with the paperwork, the petitioning parent must schedule an adequate cause hearing. If the judge finds enough information to justify a full hearing for modification, a hearing will be held for each side to present its case. Upon hearing all the testimony, the judge will decide based on what is best for the child.
Before beginning the process of requesting a parenting plan modification, you will want to discuss your case with someone who understands family court proceedings. Having someone who can speak on your behalf will increase the likelihood of a positive outcome.