Parenting plans are essentially child custody arrangements which are drafted during the divorce process. These plans are usually constructed with the best interests of the child or children in mind and are usually mutually agreed upon. These plans, however, can be subject to modifications should parenting or child-raising circumstances change. Here’s what you need to know about parenting plan modifications: what are they and how do they work?
Major Parenting Plan Modifications
Major changes to a parenting plan are those which would have a significant impact on the status of the current parenting plan and on the life of the child. Requests for the changing of primary custody is one such example of a major parenting plan modification. In order to seek a modification for a major change to a parenting plan, the parent seeking the modifications must be able to prove that the request they are making fits into one of the following categories:
- Mutual agreement between both parents.
- The child has already been integrated into the parent’s household.
- The present environment of the child is detrimental to either their well-being or safety.
- The defending parent has been found in contempt of the existing parenting plan for failure to comply with the provisions of the plan in at least two instances within the previous three years.
In order for an application for a major modification to a parenting plan to be successful, the party seeking the modification must be able to prove the following:
- A significant change has occurred in either the circumstances of the child or the circumstances of the parent the child is in the custody of since the beginning of the original parenting plan.
- The best interests of the child will be further benefited by a change to the parenting plan.
- Any potential harm by a change in the parenting plan is outweighed by the benefits the modification offers.
Minor Parenting Plan Modifications
Minor parenting plan modifications are those in which only a slight alteration to a pre-existing parenting plan is proposed. Minor parenting plan modifications do not seek to alter the living arrangements or custody arrangements of a child, but rather seek to change in scheduling or residences which were included in the original plan but are now impractical.
Some examples of minor parenting plan modifications include:
- Changes in location of either the pick-up or drop-off of the child.
- Changes in times for pick-ups or drop-offs of the child.
- Transportation arrangements.
- Changes to childcare or supervision plans.
- Changes or clarifications to previously agreed upon items that were placed within the original parenting plan.
- Minor changes to the existing residential schedule.
Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney Today
Deciding to end a marriage is never easy. This is especially true if there are children involved. If you are a parent considering divorce, contact the experienced, knowledgeable, and most importantly, compassionate attorneys at the Law Offices of James C. DeZao today at 973-808-8900 for your free consultation. Our experienced family law attorneys are here to help you through this most difficult time in your and your children’s lives.