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3 reasons parents can ask to modify their custody orders

On Behalf of | Jun 15, 2023 | Child Custody And Support |

Parents who divorce or who begin living separately often have to work out a way to share custody. Either they negotiate their own arrangements or they ask a family law judge to establish a custody order. Parents will often expand on the basic breakdown of parenting rights and responsibilities by creating an in-depth parenting plan.

Eventually, co-parents may need to adjust their parenting plan or even alter the division of decision-making authority and parenting time established in their custody order. Modifications – whether negotiated and mutually agreed upon or ordered in a litigated setting – are only official and enforceable when formalized by the family courts. These are some of the circumstances under which it may be possible for one parent to request a modification of an existing custody order in Louisiana.

When family schedules change

One of the most common reasons for people to ask for a custody modification is a shift in their household schedules. Maybe the children have moved from grade school to middle school and will now have a schedule that doesn’t work with one parent’s work  arrangements, or perhaps one of the adults in the family moves to a different job. Changes in household schedules may force people to make adjustments to their custody order based on the availability of the parents and the needs of the children.

When relationships change

Maybe one of the parents remarried or had another child. Perhaps the onset of adolescence has generated a lot of tension between older children and one of the parents. Any time that there is a drastic shift in the family relationships, a judge may agree that the custody order requires an adjustment as well.

When one parent can’t meet their children’s needs

Some parents develop mental health issues or substance abuse problems after a divorce or simply cannot handle the demands of parenting without another adult present. When someone has attempted to share custody with their co-parent but now recognizes that the children don’t have their needs met or are in danger well with the other parent, it may be necessary to go back to the courts and ask for an update to the existing custody order.

Parents can almost always agree to modify an existing order and trust that the court will approve that mutually-agreeable arrangement. Additionally, anytime that a judge agrees that there has been a substantial change in circumstances that alters what will be in the best interests of the children, they may agree to modify a custody order. What the kids need and their safety will always be the most important factor when making decisions about an initial custody order or requested modifications. Learning more about when people can change their custody orders may help those who are trying to co-parent under evolving circumstances.