When a divorce involves children, the final decree or settlement often contains the terms of the child custody arrangement. These terms are written based on the best interests of the children at the time the divorce is finalized. Yet, life changes occur and what best suited the children at one point in time may not be best for them several years down the road. There may be a time where modification of the child support agreement is necessary.
Either the child custody arrangement may be modified or a simple change in parenting schedule may be issued, depending on the circumstances surrounding the situation. There are certain life events that may constitute an application for modification. These include the following:
- One parent moves a considerable distance away
- One parent becomes incarcerated or passes away
- One parent becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol
- There is domestic violence in one of the parent’s home
- The child does not want to stay with one parent
- One parent is not following the parenting schedule
If both parents agree that a modification is necessary, they can write a request for the court to consider the new child custody arrangement. Yet if only one parent wishes to change the arrangement, he or she may need to prove why the change will benefit the children.
The court may be hesitant to disrupt the child’s schedule, especially if the change in custody will require the child to change schools. However, if the change clearly benefits the child, the court may consider modification in the divorce settlement.