Divorce will bring many changes in your life, and it is likely you will continue to experience changes well after your divorce is final. There are times when changes in your circumstances can affect your ability to adhere to the terms of your current custody order, which can be frustrating and overwhelming. If you find yourself in this situation, it is possible you have grounds to pursue a modification to your custody order.
Modifying a custody order involves specific legal steps. Even if you and the other parent agree on changing visitation schedules or other adjustments, it is still crucial to follow the appropriate process to secure a formal modification. If you need to change your current custody order, this does not negatively impact your parental rights or your ability to remain an active and involved parent.
Grounds for modification
If you are going to petition a Washington family court for a change to your custody order, there must be valid grounds to do so. Some of the most common reasons people have to change a custody and visitation order include:
- Changes in circumstances involving the child, such as a newly diagnosed medical need or a change in school schedule
- Changes in the parent’s work schedule or a new circumstance that affects his or her ability to abide by current terms
- Changes in the preferences and wishes of the children, including the desire to live with the other parent
If the current visitation schedule and custody order is unworkable for you, there are options available. A change to your current order may provide you with the ability to be with your kids as much as possible according to our new circumstances. Asking for a change is not a reflection on you as a parent.
Where should you start?
If you are unsure of where you should start with seeking a modification to your custody and visitation order, it may be helpful to seek an assessment of your rights and options. This may help you understand how you can move forward with seeking a necessary change. As a parent, you have the right to pursue what is in the best interests of your kids, which includes certain adjustments that allow you to remain an active part of their lives.