A parenting plan is usually finalized based on either a court decision or through an agreement between both parties. Even when there is an agreement, it must be adopted as a court order to be enforceable. A formal modification of the preexisting plan also requires court action, either approving a mutual agreement or issuing orders resolving a disputed issue.
Once a plan has been finalized, the court sets certain threshold for a modification case to proceed. This means that absent a mutual agreement, a claim for revision can generally only be raised if there is a substantial change in circumstances affecting the best interests of the child. The modification terms must also be in the best interests of the child. Read on to learn significant situations that can lead to legal modification of parenting plans in Denver, CO.
Relocation of a parent
Certain circumstances might force a parent to move to a region that significantly alters the geographical distance between the child and the other parent. In such a situation, either or both parents may seek modifications to the initial parenting plan. One parent may want the child to move to the new location with him or her, while the other parent may want the child to remain in the original locality. As well, a new routine for sharing or alternating time with the child may be needed no matter which parent will have the child for the majority of the time.
Acting in the child’s best interest, the court may make a ruling that considers factors like the benefits of the child remaining with the non-relocating parent, the impact of the move on the child and the location with the best educational opportunities for the child.
At times parents may devise a parenting plan when the child is very young. The schedule that was age appropriate for a preschooler may not make sense after the child has started school or become a teenager. There is not a point when the child gets to choose his or her residence or schedule. However, it often makes sense to revise the plan to account for school breaks, or the reality that an older child may do better with fewer transitions and longer uninterrupted times with each parent.
Issues with substance abuse
A court may modify parenting time if one of the parents is suffering from an addiction. Divorce or separation can be stressful and upsetting, and the parties involved may easily find themselves struggling with substance dependency. A parent who is dealing with an addiction might not be able to cater to all the child’s needs, and therefore, it would be vital to make changes to the custody arrangements. In such a situation, the court may also limit the parent’s time with the child or order the parent supervision of the time with the child, drug or alcohol monitoring or other interventions designed to maintain the parent child relationship in a safe fashion.
These are just some of the factors that can necessitate a legal change in a parenting plan. A child’s safety and happiness is of upmost importance, and any legal documents should reflect that.