It can be difficult to get a child custody arrangement established during a separation or divorce. Maryland parents who do negotiate and agree to custody plans understand the many considerations that must be made to ensure that their kids’ best interests are met. However, as many parents know, the needs and interests of children can change over time, and when these shifts occur their custodial plans may require alterations.
This post discusses modifications to child custody plans. Not legal advice is offered herein and readers may use this information as a starting point for learning more about topic. Individual support may be sought from family law attorneys who know their clients’ specific child custody needs.
When can custody be modified?
Changing a child custody agreement or order requires court approval. While parents may attempt to alter their custody plans or schedules without going to court, what they agree to may not be enforceable if their co-parents fail to follow their new arrangements. An attorney can help a parent through the modification process.
Modifications can be sought for different reasons. Most often, child custody plans are changed in order to meet a child’s needs. For example, if a child has a health issue that requires specific medical care and one parent’s schedule is more flexible, they may seek greater custodial power so that they can manage their child’s needs.
Similarly, child custody can change if a parent’s ability to care for their child alters. A new job, a move, or a new relationship may all change how a parent is available to their child. It is important that parents recognize how their own needs may impact their ability to parent during a custodial plan.
Seeking a modification
When a parent is ready to seek a modification, it is important that they discuss their expectations with their family law attorney. They should know that their co-parent may not support their plan to modify custody, and they may need to prepare for legal hearings to establish their children’s best interests. As every child custody case is different, readers should not rely on the legal outcomes of others when evaluating how custody modifications may impact their parental rights.