Many people believe that all aspects of a divorce agreement are final. However, court orders regarding child custody, visitation, child support and alimony are not set in stone. People can seek modifications to accurately reflect their changing circumstances. Since life is unpredictable, knowing that these agreements can be changed is reassuring.
One woman’s story about changed circumstances illustrates the need for these types of agreements to be flexible. The woman and her former spouse share custody of their children equally. She explained that in the past, when she needed to travel for work during her scheduled parenting time, the father would come over to her house and watch the children.
The father eventually entered into a romantic relationship with another woman and wanted that woman to join him when he watched the children in the mother’s house. The mother did not feel comfortable with the new wife in her house, and she was unsure how to handle the situation. She found that their current arrangement was no longer appropriate for her.
In this type of situation, seeking a modification to a child custody agreement may be the best option. It is not uncommon to change a custody agreement as time goes by, and parents find many reasons for doing so. As their children get older, arrangements that worked when the kids were very young often no longer work when they grow older. For example, extracurricular activities can significantly change a child’s schedule. Or, one of the parents may get a new job, which changes the hours they are available to spend time with their children.
When a parent starts considering a custody modification, it is important to communicate with the other parent and analyze how the change will impact the children. An experienced attorney can guide you through the process.
Source: The Kansas City Star, “Ex-Etiquette: Tweak the custody agreement to reflect kids’ changing needs,” Jann Blackstone-Ford and Sharyl Jupe, 12 April 2011