Things happen, life throws curve balls, and sometimes we’re hit with unexpected boons. It’s a very normal thing to have a change of circumstance which may also have an effect on the time sharing agreement between spouses when it comes to the children. Sometimes, the children may even want to initiate a change to the parenting plan. In short, child custody is rarely as fixed and finite as families believe it will be at their divorce decree. Circumstances change, and parenting plans sometimes have to change with it. However, these changes should always be documented in front of witnesses.

Yes, anytime a lawyer or professional of any kind gets involved there are some financial costs. For this reason, many parents will attempt to work out a time-sharing agreement outside the court rather than pay attorney fees and use the legal process. When the parties get along well, verbal agreements may seem like a fine solution. What happens when they stop getting along? What happens when a child is hurt or gets into trouble at the other parent’s house? Things can quickly change. No one wants to be outside the parameters of a court approved parenting plan, which is why verbal agreements aren’t the best approach to modifying a parenting plan in the long run.

Modifying a parenting agreement is as simple as both parents consenting and having it notarized. It doesn’t have to be a huge spectacle when everyone agrees. When one party doesn’t agree, it may be time to bring in a child custody lawyer and head back into court. The courts will expect a hearing where both parents discuss the parenting plan, and the judge will ultimately make a decision. Unless there is a great deal of acrimony, these changes can usually be made outside the court with some negotiations by the attorneys to gain consent.