When you get divorced, the court sets up a custody plan and you both get a certain amount of parenting time with your children. This is not always perfectly even, as doing so may be unreasonable, but the goal for most cases is to keep both parents involved with their children as much as possible.

As with anything in life, though, situations change. What worked initially may not work in the future. Parents do have the option to ask for a modification. 

In a general sense, the court needs to see that a modification is in the best interests of the child — not the parents. For instance, perhaps the child’s living situation now means that he or she cannot continue going to school with the same peers while moving from middle school to high school. This is an important time for socially-minded children, and the court may allow a modification to make it possible. Other common grounds for a modification include:

  • One or both of the parents have to move to new homes. 
  • The child is facing some type of danger due to the current rules. 
  • The child is older and has requested a change. 
  • One of the parents has not been following the schedule that was already set. 
  • One of the parents has passed away. 

Perhaps the most complex is when a child requests a change. However, parents need to remember that children change rapidly. What worked for a five-year-old during a divorce may not work at all for a 13-year-old who is starting high school. 

If you find yourself involved in this process, make sure you know what rights you have. It’s usually wisest to talk a situation over with an experienced advocate before you decide how to proceed with a modification request.