The divorce and custody process can take a long time. However, it doesn’t end when you sign the final papers. Life continues to change, so sometimes your custody agreements must change as well.

If you are finding that there have been big changes in your family’s lives or your current custody agreement is simply not working anymore, it may be time to request a modification. Here are some situations that may require changes to your current agreement.

Life changes

  • Job loss
  • Employment change
  • Moving
  • Illness
  • A deployed parent
  • A remarrying parent
  • Death

Danger to the child

  • Domestic violence
  • Other immediate danger
  • The child does not want to be at the home or does not feel safe

The child’s best interest

  • Parenting ability
  • Consistency issues
  • Negative impact of routine changes
  • Communication problems
  • Issues following agreements

As you deal with situations that may prompt custody modifications, you should also consider how they could affect visitation, child support and your current parenting plan.

If you decide to change your custody agreement, you should always start by talking with your lawyer. They will help you understand what action is best suited for your situation and if you are eligible for modification. Unless the situation is an emergency, you must wait one year after your custody order was finalized to make a modification.

You will need to file a request with the court that was involved with the last order involving your child. The court may have specific procedures or forms that you must follow.