When issues with your parenting plan or custody order arise, you might feel tempted to try to directly address those issues with your ex. After all, the two of you could potentially agree to make adjustments to the custody arrangement that allow you to spend more time with your children or allow you to tweak your parental obligation to better reflect your currents situation.
While it may seem faster, easier and even cheaper to informally change custody, many times, it ends up being more of a problem than a solution. This is why you might need a formal modification.
Informal changes leave you at the mercy of your ex
Maybe you agreed with your ex that you will take the children for three days every week instead of just two. It seems like everyone wins in that scenario because you get to spend more time with your children and your ex can have more time for themselves.
However, if your ex becomes resentful or angry about the changes or about their relationship with you or the kids, they could potentially call and report a parental abduction, They could claim that you did not return the children on time in accordance with your custody order.
Unless you have written documentation of the agreement between you and your ex, you could find yourself facing an uphill battle due to your informal custody modification agreement.
You could wind up paying more child support than you need to
The amount of child support you pay reflects your parenting time and other family circumstances. The more equally split your parenting time is, the less support the courts will likely require you to pay. Making an informal arrangement with your ex can seem like a quick solution, but it could mean that you wind up paying more child support than you should until you go back to the courts to adjust your custody order.
Getting an official change to custody will often also involved an official change the child support, which can make your life a lot easier. Before you and your ex make any ongoing changes to your parenting plan or custody agreement, talk to your family law attorney.