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How often can you modify a custody agreement?

Your child custody agreement has been designed, at the moment, to make sure your child sees you and the other parent every few days. You’re seeing them regularly because they’re young, and you’re splitting custody in a way that allows you and the other parent to work and take care of other responsibilities.

For now, this arrangement works, but you know that it may change in the future. Fortunately, you can ask to modify a custody agreement if something about your circumstances changes and you would like to change the schedule, reduce or increase the time spent with your child.

Why would you want to alter a custody agreement?

There are many reasons why you might want to alter a custody agreement. Losing a job, taking on new work or needing to move are three common reasons. Other reasons might include other responsibilities coming up, like caring for an ill family member, or your child making their wishes known and asking for new arrangements that better suit a school or extracurricular schedule.

Custody agreements can’t be changed too often, but with major life changes, most courts will agree to review modification requests. If there have been no major changes in your life, you may need to wait a year or two before seeking a modification.

Who can request a custody modification?

Normally, you or your ex-spouse can file a petition to change custody on your own. You can also do so together. If both of you agree to a modification and it’s not harmful to your child in any way, the judge is likely to approve it and make it legally binding.

If you and the other parent do not agree or there is a risk that your child could be hurt by the changes, a judge will need to listen to the case in court. Once you both present your arguments, they will decide if the modification is reasonable and in your child’s best interests.

If you need to seek out a modification, talk to the other parent first. If you can work out a new schedule, it will be easier to submit that to the court for approval. If you don’t agree, you may need to prepare to speak to the judge.

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