After a couple spends months, or years, in and out of court establishing a custody and visitation agreement, the last thing they imagine is changing it. Unfortunately, no matter how well a couple plans their co-parenting agreement and visitation schedule, eventually the schedule will no longer be feasible. Over the years as parents change jobs, develop new relationships, or deal with other family emergencies, they may not be able to visit their child as much as they previously expected. Also, as children grow older, they have different interests and needs that conflict with an agreement established when they were younger. Understanding why you should periodically review a child custody and visitation agreement is a good way to prepare yourself should modification become a real consideration.
Current Plan is Not Helping Your Child
Custody agreements and parenting plans are designed with the best interest of the child in mind. There are times when the existing agreement is no longer helping your child or goes against his or her best interests. In some situations, the custodial parent is no longer adequately able to care for the child, while in other cases the existing visitation schedule is disrupting the child’s education, resulting in bad grades. Prior to requesting a plan modification, you must consider how the judge will feel about the proposed changes. Ultimately the judge will have to decide if the changes you are requesting are more beneficial to your child than the previously agreed upon plan.
Visitation is Now Impractical
There are many changes that can occur during the child’s minority that render the current visitation schedule impractical. If the non-custodial parent has moved some distance away, travels regularly for a new job, or otherwise is unable to attend all scheduled visits, it might be time to request changes be made to the plan. A non-custodial parent who lives in a distant state or works overseas may no longer find it reasonable or affordable to get the child each weekend for visitation. A custodial parent who consistently plans his or her family trips and professional life around visits that are not going to occur may benefit from a new visitation schedule that gives the family more flexibility.
Parenting Plan Interferes with Child’s Schedule
As children grow older, it is normal for them to show interest in extracurricular activities. By the time they enter high, school most children participate in at least one activity that requires afternoon practices or mandatory attendance at events that take place on weekends. A child with a busy activity and social schedule might be less than enthusiastic about interrupting his or her plans to spend time with a parent. Reviewing the custody and visitation agreement once the child begins participating in activities can help both parents determine how best to navigate schedule changes while ensuring that all parent and child bonds remain intact.
Talk to an Attorney
If you believe an existing parenting plan needs to be changed, it is best to talk to a qualified child custody and visitation attorney. The compassionate attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum understand that coming to a decision to modify an existing agreement is not easy, and we are prepared to help you make the best choices for yourself and your children. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at one of our Atlanta metro area locations.