Many couples coparenting after divorce adjust parenting time schedules for the holidays. After the whirlwind of the winter celebrations, you may be wondering if your existing parenting time arrangement still meets you and your children’s needs.
However, if you and your coparent have a court-ordered decision to split parenting time, changing the schedule for child custody arrangements cannot happen immediately. Any family in Maricopa County needs to follow a specific process to adjust parenting time, legal decision making or child support payments.
How can you tell if you need a child custody modification?
Many coparenting couples adapt their parenting plan over the years. Reasons to change a parenting plan include:
- Your children have grown since the initial parenting plan decision. Toddlers or young children and older children have different needs when it comes to a parenting plan. As they grow, your children’s school schedule may dictate the split in parenting time. Additionally, your kids may get involved in extracurricular activities that require a specific parenting time plan.
- You or your partner have a change in jobs. Your career might develop over the years to involve different hours or more overnight trips. If your work schedule no longer fits the parenting time assigned to you, you should start discussing a change in parenting time with your partner. Military deployment may affect parenting time as well. The courts also give those cases priority.
- You or your partner have remarried. Especially if your new spouse has children, you should carefully think through how your current parenting plan matches the new dynamics of your blended family.
Requirements for requesting a child custody modification
In Arizona, parenting plan modifications may only occur if the plan has not already changed in the past year. Courts will make exceptions for cases with an endangered child.
As in every child custody situation, the best interest of the child is always the highest priority. With that in mind, your parenting plan can grow with your children and your family.