Typically, when the Alabama family courts approve a custody order, they expect both parents to abide by it. You need to follow the schedule and adhere to the rough breakdown of parenting time outlined in your existing custody order. Otherwise, the other parent or the state could take enforcement action against you.
Most of the time, parents can find a way to work through their disagreements about minor parenting issues and continue cooperating until their children turn 18. However, there are scenarios in which one co-parent makes the other worry about the existing custody order. If you frequently get into disputes with your ex about adjustments to your parenting plan or they won’t adhere to the schedule, you may want to make some changes.
It is sometimes possible to go back to the Alabama family courts and ask for a formal change to your custody order, also known as a modification. When will the courts approve a modification request?
When it is an uncontested request
Parents often agree with one another about the fact that they need to change their schedule or the overall division of parenting time because of changing family circumstances. Provided that both of you agree about the changes, you can submit paperwork to the courts asking for an uncontested modification.
A family law judge will review your request and will typically grant it as long as they think it would be in the best interests of the children. If you and the other parent agree that you need to change when you exchange custody or otherwise make adjustments to your existing parenting plan, you can make a formal modification request through the family courts.
When you have evidence of safety issues
Typically, for a judge to grant a contested modification request where the parents do not agree with one another, there needs to be some kind of evidence that the current custody arrangement is dangerous or harmful for the children.
You will need to attend a hearing, not just submit paperwork. Photographs of bruises, police reports and other corroborating evidence can help you convince a judge to give you more parenting time or otherwise alter your current custody arrangements for the protection of your children.
Making sense of when custody modifications are possible can help parents struggling with a shared custody arrangement in Alabama.