When you have children, post-divorce life can be a challenge to navigate. The parenting plan you set up as part of your dissolution agreement may be far from perfect, and time may only make it more difficult. When a parenting plan no longer fits your circumstances, Washington courts may allow you to seek an adjustment.
Here’s how parents can update their plans
The problem with custody orders is that life changes, and custody orders often need to change with it. What works when kids are small may not work out so well when they are teenagers. What used to be a good agreement when you and your ex lived close by may not no longer be feasible if one of you moves farther away. There are several reasons why your parenting plan may not be a good fit anymore. The question is, what can you do to fix it?
Modifications of custody orders can happen in one of two ways. First, you and your ex can negotiate new terms in private, with the assistance of counsel or through the mediation process. If you successfully reach a new agreement, the new plan will need to be submitted to the court for approval before it becomes active.
If you cannot reach an agreement, then the matter may have to be taken to court. To do this, you’ll need to file the appropriate petition. Once filed, a hearing will be set up to discuss your case. Both you and your ex will be allowed to share your thoughts on the matter. If the court finds a modification will serve the best interests of the children, then it will be granted and the new terms will be set.
Parenting plan modifications are normal
Needing a parenting plan is not an uncommon thing; many parents in Washington find they need to seek custody modifications at least once over the years. Receiving approval to make an adjustment may not be easy, but it can be worth the effort for many parents.