Modifying a Custody Plan for the Holidays
With the holidays just around the corner, many families are beginning to plan trips, request time off from work, or coordinate travel plans with loved ones. These tasks can become much more difficult when a parent’s plans or circumstances change, requiring the last minute modification of a child custody arrangement. Official modifications can be time-consuming and are often difficult to obtain, so it is important for couples with shared children who are separated or divorced, to contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale child custody lawyer about their options for modifying holiday custody plans.
Do I Have to Go to Court to Modify a Custody Agreement?
Obtaining court approval for the modification of a custody arrangement can be a lengthy process and also requires the petitioning party to prove that the change is justified due to an unforeseen and substantial change in circumstances. This can be a difficult standard to meet, especially for parents who only want to modify the terms of their custody arrangement related to the holidays. Fortunately, parents have a few different options when it comes to modifying holiday custody plans without the need to go to court.
If a child’s parents wish to make a temporary change to a custody arrangement, they may do so informally, without creating a written document. This is only true, however, for couples who agree on the modification. If one of the parties disputes the modification, then the current parenting plan will remain in effect until the parties can resolve the issue in court. It’s also important to keep in mind that verbal agreements are not enforceable, so just because both parents verbally agree to a modification does not mean that either parent is required to stick to the terms of that arrangement, unless ordered to do so by the court.
Drafting an Informal Modification Agreement
Creating an informal modification agreement is one of the easiest and least stressful ways to change the holiday provisions of a custody plan. However, this option is only available to parents who both agree to the change and who are willing to work out an arrangement in an out-of-court setting. Couples who opt for this method must be sure to include certain information in their new agreement, including:
- The location, time, and length of the child’s custody arrangement;
- When the child will be dropped off or picked up and by whom;
- The date of the agreement; and
- Each party’s signature.
Generally, only substantial changes need be memorialized in writing and signed by the parties, after which the agreement will still need to be submitted to the court for review and approval. This option is often preferred by parents, especially those who are only looking to make a minor change to a holiday visitation schedule, as litigating these types of issues in court can be expensive and time-consuming.
Set up an Initial Case Review Today
If you or your former partner have questions about modifying the terms of your holiday visitation agreement, please contact dedicated Fort Lauderdale child custody lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. to learn more about your legal options. A member of our team can be reached at 954-945-7591 or via online message.