Most parents put considerable effort into creating parenting plans to make a divorce as easy as possible for their children. While the plan may represent the parents’ best intentions, it does not always work as well as they might have hoped.
In other situations, changes to the parents’ circumstances or the children’s needs might render the original plan unworkable.
A Red Bank child custody modification lawyer could help parents devise a new plan that better suits their needs. Although judges expect parents to abide by court-ordered parenting plans, they also recognize the need to adapt plans to as circumstances change.
Sometimes, one parent wants a change to the plan, and the other does not. In that case, an experienced custody attorney could help a parent prove that their desired outcome serves the children’s best interests.
Once a court issues a parenting plan with a divorce decree, it is an enforceable legal document. Parents must not change their plans without notifying the court. Though, if both parents agree that a different custody and visitation arrangement would suit their family better, they could develop a revised parenting plan together. However, Tennessee Statute §36-6-405 requires them to submit the revised plan to the court for approval.
A court will question whether circumstances changed sufficiently to merit revising the parenting plan. The law does not define what a substantial change in circumstances means, but the change must be significant if the parents are requesting a change in the child’s primary residence. If the modification relates only to parenting time, the changes could be less significant, such as a different work schedule.
A court will also review the document to ensure it suits the children’s best interests. A seasoned Red Bank child custody attorney could help a couple demonstrate that their children will benefit from the newly modified parenting plan.
When one parent seeks to modify the parenting plan, and the other opposes it, the disputes can become bitter. Sparing the children a parental court battle should be the parents’ priority.
Mediation could assist a couple in finding common ground. With the help of a trained family mediator, parents often find a satisfactory way to adapt the parenting plan. A diligent legal professional could assist a parent in finding a mediator to help them peaceably modify a custody agreement in Red Bank.
If the parents cannot agree, the parent seeking modification must file a motion with the court. The parent must prove the requested modification serves the children’s best interests.
Sometimes circumstances arise that seem to endanger a child and a parent feels they must take immediate steps to protect them. Such situations might involve:
Any parent who feels their child is in immediate danger should involve the police.
A parent seeking to remove a child or prevent contact on an emergency basis could file an ex parte motion with the court. Ex parte means the other parent does not get notice of the order and has no opportunity to present their side. The request for the order must specify the concern in detail and establish that the child is unsafe in their current situation. If a court grants the order, it will hold a hearing within 15 days to allow the other parent to contest it.
Parents often have legitimate reasons to seek an emergency custody order, but sometimes they misuse the process to harass or impugn the other parent. A qualified lawyer could assist a parent seeking or defending an ex parte emergency custody order in Red Bank.
If you need to alter your custody agreement, or your co-parent wants to adjust it over your objections, contact a Red Bank child custody modification lawyer right away. A knowledgeable legal professional could review your situation and help you decide the best way to proceed.
Custody issues are too important to handle without legal advice. Reach out today to speak with a well-practiced attorney.