When the courts finally grant your divorce or issue a child custody as an unmarried parent, people refer to that order as the final custody order. The terminology people use makes some parents think that they have no control over the custody order if they disagree with it or if it causes more issues for their family than it solves.
You don’t have to permanently abide by the final custody order in your divorce, especially if you feel like it doesn’t serve your children’s needs or failed to take important factors into account. When the custody order is a problem for your family, then you can file a request for a modification.
A modification means going back to court
You can request a modification hearing at any point when your family circumstances have substantially changed. You accepting a new job, your ex moving to a new house or your children transferring to a new school could all be examples of family changes that necessitate a custody modification.
As with your initial custody matters, you can file a contested or uncontested modification request. If your ex agrees with the changes that you proposed, then you could move forward with an uncontested modification. You will have to go to court, but the matter simply requires judicial approval.
If they challenge your claim and do not want to change the custody order, then you may need to move forward with a contested modification request. Just like your divorce or custody hearings before, a judge will have to review the terms and then decide if they are in the best interests of your children.
If a judge agrees that giving you more parenting time or changing your schedule would be good for the kids, then they will approve your request and update your custody order accordingly.
Can’t you just agree with your ex to make changes?
In theory, parents can make changes to their parenting schedule at any time. However, especially when those changes are substantial, having an official modification will benefit you.
Your ex could accuse you of parental kidnapping or deny you time with the children because of your outdated custody order. Changes to your custody arrangements could also have an impact on your child support obligations.
Filing the right paperwork and gathering the necessary documentation to request a custody modification could help you ensure that your arrangements work well for your family.