Permanent parenting plans are intended to be just that, permanent. The parenting plan is put in place to provide for the stability and wellbeing of the child/children. Modifying a permanent parenting plan requires the party wishing to modify the parenting plan to prove that a change in circumstance has occurred and the modification is in the best interest of the child.
A permanent parenting plan can be modified by agreement, after a petition to modify has been filed with the court. Typically, however, there is a relatively drawn-out negotiation period where the parties can participate in mediation. If mediation fails, the court will have to make the final decision on the modifications.
How do you get started? First, you need to consult a family law attorney to discuss the facts of your case. All cases are different and come with their own challenges. For example, if a party wants to modify who the primary residential parent is, this requires that the change in circumstance materially affects the child’s well-being. If, on the other hand, the party wants to modify parenting/visitation time, the standard is lower and more practical.
There are many grounds for altering parenting time and the judge may simply ask, “what has changed?” This could be work schedules, retirement, parents have moved, logistics of child exchange have changed or that the child is now 12 years of age or older and wished to spend more time with one parent than the other.
If you are considering modifying a permanent parenting plan, contact the Law Office of Lords and Cate to discuss your case. We can assess your case and help develop a plan of action.