When it comes to children and divorce, you can count on devoting a good portion of the process dealing with issues that range from child custody, visitation and child support. Once you have good, fair and easy-to-deal with plan in place, however, you can rest easy—at least for a while. The funny thing about divorce and parenting plans is how impermanent they can be. In fact, you should expect that anything you decide that concerns your minor children will need to be adjusted, sometimes several times.
Read on to learn what you need to know about making changes to your custody and visitation arrangements.
Family Courts Understand
It is no accident that each and every single provision dealing with your minor child is left open. Nothing can ever be "done and ordered," since the law and family courts understand that situations can change dramatically. You must remember that a high priority is placed upon the health and well-being of children by the family court system when it comes to divorce, as it should be. After all, they did not ask for their parents to split up, so they must be protected from the negative effects of divorce as much as possible.
As Children Grow
When it comes to orders concerning custody and visitation, it is well-understood that as children grow older, their parenting needs change. What was a great agreement when the child was eight, may no longer be a great plan when the child becomes older. If your agreement is no longer working as well, you would do well to stop for a moment and consider the motivation behind any requests to change it. Just as the court system recognizes the needs of the child first and foremost, so should you. An alternation that only benefits the parents will be denied.
Common Issues Prompting Changes
1. The parent may no longer be fit to parent: Unfortunately, the incidence of drug and alcohol abuse is the reality in some cases. When you suspect that your ex has a problem, you need to take action quickly and do further investigations. If you know, and can prove, that your ex has a problem with substance abuse, speak to your divorce or family law attorney right away.
Be ready to show arrest records or other proof and file for an emergency hearing to have custody or visitation altered. Additionally, if a parent has severe and debilitating health issues or is mentally unstable, you may also have grounds for a hearing.
2. The child is older and their lives have changed: One thing is certain, as children get older their need for independence grows with them. If you have a preteen or teenager, they may be struggling to comply with previous orders concerning custody or visitation. Just be certain that they are not really just trying to spend more time with a more lenient parent.
Additionally, increased social, recreational and school activities may be challenging the visitation schedule in place since they were younger. Do not be surprised if the court system takes your teenager's opinions on custody and visitation into consideration.
For further insight, contact services such as Young Law Offices, PLLC.