Sometimes after a divorce is final and theParenting Plan has been decided, circumstances change causing one of the parents to seeka change to the agreements. You or your former spouse can return to courtand file a Motion to Modify when such changes occur. In order to seek a modification ina custody order or Parenting Plan, a party must set out sufficient facts that show achange in circumstances from the time of the Judgment and that one or more provisions ofthe Judgment are no longer in the best interests of the child. If the standard seems somewhatlacking in specificity, it is somewhat by design â€“ ultimately, the court must do whatis best for the children.
Generally, when a party seeks a modification,it involves a change in legal custody, a change in physical custody, a change in the ParentingPlan, or sometimes all three. A change in legal or physical custody requires a highershowing of changed circumstances than is required for a change in the Parenting Plan. Essentially,the court will go through the same decisionmaking process originally used, but will use thecurrent circumstances to reach a conclusion. Modifications are very complicated and oftencomplex matters, particularly if a party seeks a change in both legal and physical custody.It begins to resemble a contested divorce, and the procedures are generally very similar.To chart the most beneficial course for your
modification proceeding, you’ll want toconsult with a skilled and experienced attorney.