After a divorce, many parents find themselves facing new challenges when it comes to co-parenting. One common question that arises is whether or not you can change your parenting plan after the fact.
The short answer is yes, it is possible to modify your parenting plan, but there are some important factors to consider.
Agreement between both parents
The most straightforward way to change a parenting plan is through mutual agreement between both parents. If you and your ex-spouse can agree on the proposed changes, you can submit a modified plan to the court for approval. This is often the quickest and least contentious way to make adjustments. You should maintain open and respectful communication during this process, prioritizing the best interests of your children.
Material changes in circumstances
If both parents do not agree on the proposed changes, you may need to demonstrate a significant change in circumstances that justifies a modification. Courts typically consider changes that directly affect the well-being of the child. Examples of material changes may include a parent relocating to a different city, a parent’s job change or concerns about a child’s safety.
Child’s best interests
The court’s primary concern when considering modifications to a parenting plan is the best interests of the child. Any changes you propose should demonstrate that the modifications will benefit the child and not just one parent. Be prepared to provide evidence and reasoning to support your case. The court will assess factors such as the child’s age, relationship with each parent and overall well-being.
Mediation and alternative dispute resolution
In some cases, parents may benefit from seeking mediation or alternative dispute resolution methods to resolve disagreements regarding the parenting plan. These processes can help parents work together to find common ground and create a modified plan that suits both parties.
Statistics show that there is a 16% increased chance of behavioral problems for children who are 7 and 14 years old when their parents divorce. Knowing when and how to change your parenting plan can help you adapt and change your methods in the way that is best for your family.