Signs That It’s Time to Change Your Parenting Plan

After you get through your divorce, you might take a deep breath and feel grateful about that chapter of your life being in your rearview mirror. You plan never again to go to court for the rest of your life. Unfortunately, you might need to modify your custody, visitation, or child support terms at some point. 

This blog discusses some of the common signs that it’s time to change your parenting plan. Modifying a parenting plan is tricky because you need to prove different things than you did in the divorce, but North Carolina child custody attorneys can handle your modification request.

Relocation and Parenting Plans

One of the top reasons that people request a change in the terms of their parenting plan is that one of the parents wants to relocate. Whether it is for a job, remarriage, or military deployment, if one parent moves to a location that makes the current parenting plan unworkable or not in the best interests of the child, a modification could be appropriate.

You might need a change in custody if the custodial parent is the one who is moving. If the parents cannot agree on whether the child moves with the parent, a judge will have to decide the issue. The visitation schedule almost always changes when a parent moves a great distance. The child support might need to change to address travel expenses. 

Significant Changes in the Child’s Needs

The parenting plan is supposed to be in the best interest of the child. Let’s say that your child is an athletic prodigy who must spend hours a day practicing and competing in their sport to be eligible for the Olympic team. If one parent digs in their heels and refuses to alter the schedule to accommodate this activity of the child, the other parent might file a Motion to Modify to ask the judge to change the schedule.

Substantial Increase or Decrease in Child Support

Many things can change the amount of child support that is appropriate. For example:

  • The child was in full-time daycare at the time of the divorce. Now, the child is in school all day and only has before or after-school childcare, which is much less expensive.
  • The parent paying child support has a dramatic decrease in income, through no fault of their own. The decrease is expected to be long-term. By way of example, the paying parent became disabled and unable to maintain employment.
  • The parent receiving child support received a dramatic increase in their income, like a situation in which the parent finished medical school and started practicing medicine. A recalculation based on the parent’s current income would result in a substantially different amount of child support.

Courts do not like to entertain motions to modify child support when there would only be a small change in the amount of child support.

A Child with Special Needs

When a child has newly diagnosed or worsened special needs, they might need to have the parenting plan reviewed to make accommodations for therapy schedules, medical procedures, and sick days. Spousal support and child support might need to get amended to account for the primary caregiver parent spending more time taking care of the child and having less time to go to work. North Carolina family law attorneys could talk to you and answer your questions about changing your parenting plan. Reach out to our office today for help with your case.