Changing Your Custody Schedule
With the onset of the new year, many parents are re-evaluating their current custody schedules to ensure that they are still meeting the needs of the children and both parents. After all, it is not uncommon for a family’s circumstances to change over time as children grow and their interests change. All of these changes can also necessitate a modification in a child’s custody schedule. Fortunately, modification is possible for parents who comply with specific procedures, so if you or your co-parent believes that a change in your custody agreement would be in your child’s best interests, you should consider reaching out to a Fort Lauderdale child visitation and time-sharing attorney, who can guide you through the modification process.
When going through a divorce, couples with children must create a custody agreement and parenting plan. These plans outline important matters, including how much time the child will spend with each parent, where the child will primarily live, and who will bear decision making responsibility for certain childcare-related issues. Even parents who decide to divide custody 50/50 will need to establish a parenting plan that lays out a visitation schedule. Examples of the most common schedules include:
- One week with one parent, followed by a week with the other parent;
- Two weeks with one parent, followed by two weeks with the other parent;
- Weekdays with one parent and weekends with the other parent;
- Two days with one parent, followed by two days with the other parent and alternating weekends; or
- The school year with one parent and the majority of summer and winter breaks with the other parent.
The type of custody arrangement that a family comes up with will vary depending on the needs of the children and the family in question. Factors that could affect which schedule is chosen include:
- Where the parents live;
- Each parent’s work schedule;
- Where the child attends school;
- The child’s extracurricular schedule;
- Whether the child has any special needs; and
- The availability of child care.
Even when a family or court comes up with a proper visitation schedule, however, it is possible that that arrangement will eventually need to be changed.
When to Modify a Visitation Schedule
Modifying a custody arrangement isn’t usually necessary for parents who need to trade days or make a temporary change to accommodate a business trip or vacation. Instead, permanent modification should be sought when a significant change in circumstances has occurred and requires a long-term change to the current arrangement. Common reasons to modify a custody agreement include:
- A change in the child’s school or extracurricular schedule that renders the current plan inadequate or inappropriate;
- A change in employment for either parent that impacts their ability to comply with the current plan; or
- Relocation, whether closer to, or farther from, the child.
A parent can even seek modification of a custody order when the other parent consistently misses visitation with the child. Whatever the reason, the petitioner should be prepared to prove to the court that the reason for the change is legitimate and significant and that the modification would be in the child’s best interests.
Call Today for Help with Your Legal Issue
To discuss your visitation issue with skilled child visitation and time-sharing lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A., please call 954-945-7591 or send us a message online.