Parents who aren’t married should have a child custody order. Over time, these custody orders may need to be altered.
To know when and why you should alter a child custody order, you should consider the following:
1. Employment status changes
A common reason for parents to alter a custody order is that a parent’s employment status has changed. For some people, that may mean they had a change of hours, such as after picking up a new shift or job, and now they need to change their visitation days or times. Other people may be unemployed. While they may have more hours to care for their children, they may not have a sustainable income to care for them.
2. One or both parents are moving
People move all the time. While it may be easy for couples in intact relationships to move their entire family wherever they want, divorced parents don’t have that choice when sharing custody with another parent. Parents that move may not be able to fulfill their obligations in a custody agreement, which may cause hardship for their children.
3. A parent isn’t following the custody agreement
Parents may spend hours working on a custody agreement that works for everyone. However, that doesn’t mean parents will follow the rules. People may need to seek a revised custody agreement if their children’s other parent isn’t fulfilling their obligations and duties and it’s affecting their custody rights or relationship with their children.
4. The child’s needs and wants have changed
Custody orders often change naturally as a child grows. A child custody order that worked five years ago likely won’t work for a child now. Teens, for example, may have new needs and wants that can be accomplished with a revised order. Or, a child may develop medical issues that make the old custody agreement unworkable.
If you believe you need to alter a child custody order, learn about your legal options so that you can proceed in the right direction.