After you went through the process of establishing an enforceable parenting plan with your ex-spouse, you may have felt relieved that the process was finished. Matters were settled, and you could begin moving on with your life and being a loving parent without the distraction of divorce. After all, divorce decrees are supposed to be treated as permanent.
But life is full of unexpected turns, and sometimes divorce decrees and child custody arrangements have to be amended.
For example, maybe you got laid off from your job, and you, as a parent with primary custody of your child, need to move to a different town or state for employment. Or maybe your child was diagnosed with a learning disability, and you're not receiving enough child support to cover the necessary accommodations. Or maybe your co-parent has developed a substance abuse problem, and your child isn't safe in the other household.
All of these reasons could be grounds for modification of a court-ordered child custody arrangement. To make this kind of change, though, it is a good idea to have a legal advocate on your side, especially if the other parent opposes the modification.
If you need a court to approve an amendment of your divorce decree, then you'll have to show how circumstances have changed. This requires proof that will stand up to scrutiny in the event that your co-parent takes legal action to oppose the modification.
Obviously, the stakes are high when your child's well-being is the issue, and a family law attorney can work with you to create a strategy that protects your parental rights while ensuring that your child's well-being remains the top priority.