Whether you wrote your own co-parenting plan with your ex or a judge created your custody order, your custody documents are likely a reflection of your family’s unique circumstances and needs. When your family circumstances change, it may become necessary to revisit those custody agreements.
Either parent can ask the court for a modification hearing after a Virginia divorce, and the courts can also conduct periodic reviews independent of parental requests. When would it make sense for you to ask the courts for a custody modification?
When your job or educational schedule changes
Maybe you are trying to finish your graduate degree and have been for years. Perhaps you have long worked at a company that demanded your availability every other weekend. Your work or educational obligations can limit your availability and result in your ex getting more parenting time. When your situation changes, making you more accessible for the children, you may be able to ask for a modification that gives you more time with the kids.
When the kids start filling up their own schedules
Whether your middle child wants to take tuba lessons or your oldest is a baseball fanatic, hobbies and extracurricular activities take up ever-increasing amounts of children’s time as they get older.
When grade school children become middle schoolers and then high schoolers, the amount of time they spend at home will likely decrease. You may need to modify your parenting plan to reflect the new demands created by extracurricular activities.
When your ex doesn’t treat the children right
Although modifications are often the result of happy circumstances, like career success or children maturing and teenagers, some parents need to get a modification because their ex can’t handle the responsibilities of co-parenting.
If you have witnessed signs of neglect or abuse when your children returned home from your ex’s custody, taking steps to limit or reduce their parenting time may be necessary for the safety of the children.
Just like your initial custody proceedings, a modification hearing can require legal representation and careful planning if you want to be successful, especially if your ex contests the modification you are seeking