01
Feb 18

When to Modify Your Child Custody Arrangement

Having a child custody arrangement ensures you and your ex still play an important role in your child’s life and that there are rules and guidelines set to help each of you navigate your parenting in the best possible way. However, your situation may change dramatically over time from when your child custody arrangement was initially drafted. For some people, they still try to make it work with the original terms, but for others, doing so is not simply an option.

There are certain instances where changing your child custody arrangement is a necessity. However, when dealing with the court system, it’s important to understand they don’t need to abide by your request, but they will consider the best interest of the child. If you have undergone any of the following changes in your life, then it’s a good idea to consider modifying your child custody arrangement.

Relocation

Your child custody arrangement is made up for you and your ex living in certain locations. However, that doesn’t mean each of you will stay there for the duration of your arrangement. Should a situation arise where one of you needs to relocate, especially if it puts you farther away from your child, then it’s a good idea to see if you can modify your arrangement. For instance, if you are moving out of state, maybe your arrangement will now include summer visitations and/or visitations during longer school breaks, like Christmas and Easter.

Opting for a modified custody arrangement is also important if you end up moving closer to your child. If you were out of state initially, then being closer to your child may allow you to have more visitation with him or her.

Environmental Changes

As a parent, it’s up to you to do the best for your child. However, some people go through hard times, and this can create bad environments for a child. If your ex has started to abuse drugs or alcohol, become violent towards your child, or express any behaviors that could put your child at risk, it’s important to ask to modify your custody arrangement. Whether the other parent has sole or joint custody, doing what you can to protect your child is the most important, so getting a judge to recognize the environment isn’t safe is imperative.

Reasons Not to Modify

In addition to having reasons that qualify for modifying your arrangement, it’s also important to note what won’t work. For instance, if your ex has different religious beliefs than your or is late on a child support payment, the judge likely will not adjust your schedule.

Whenever you decide to make a modification to your arrangement, you have a few options. First, if you and your ex agree on the changes, then you can informally make them and agree to them on your own. Just know these changes will not be done in writing, so there is no legal binding to them should anything else change in the future.

If you prefer to get them written down, you can meet with a judge and have him/her sign off on the changes you have made together.

However, should you want a change your ex doesn’t agree to, then you will need to get help through a service who has yours and your child’s best interests in mind. You will then be on your way to get your case in front of a judge who will listen to both sides of the story and make their final decision. Understand there’s no right or wrong answer for the judge, so be prepared for them to rule against you.


04
Jan 18

What to Do When Your Child Doesn’t Want to Live With You

Being a parent is one of the toughest jobs you’ll ever encounter, and the unconditional love you feel is enough to make you want to do anything in the world for your child. However, sometimes parent/child relationships can become strained, whether it’s due to your behaviors or the behaviors of your child. In most cases, the parent and child need to figure out how to make it work, but in some cases, other options are available. For instance, if you and your ex are divorced and you have sole or joint custody of the child, it’s possible for your child to make up their own mind when they hit a specific age. So what do you do when your child doesn’t want to live with you?

 

Talk to Your Child

If your child is adamant about not wanting to live with you or not wanting to hold any visitation with you, the best thing for you to do is to talk with your child about his/her feelings. Maybe this is just their way of acting out, or maybe they do have some valid concerns that you weren’t completely aware of. By talking with your child, maybe you can work out whatever differences there may be.

 

Talk with a Legal Representative

If your conversations with your child don’t help you resolve the issue, the next step would be to talk with a legal representative about child visitation. In most states, a child is bound by the parenting agreement until he or she is 18. This is only changed if proof of neglect or abuse can be made against one of the parents. In addition, your child may be able to tell the court that he/she doesn’t want to live with you, but that doesn’t mean the court will rule in his/her favor. Instead, your child’s wishes will simply be recorded, but no change will be done in a legal setting.

 

Try Counseling

Sometimes just talking things out with one another doesn’t always work, and you need the help of an unbiased third party. Try to attend some family counseling sessions with your child. Maybe being able to talk openly about feelings in front of someone else will help your child fully understand how their actions are making you feel, and maybe it can allow the both of you to come to a resolution.

 

Decide What You Want to Do

While the court can rule your child is required to stay with you or required to visit you, it doesn’t mean your relationship with your child will get better. Instead, this could actually put more strain on your relationship, and that’s the last thing you want to do. While you want to spend quality time with your child, it’s not always worth it if you’re constantly arguing or fighting. If this is the case, you need to decide what to do as the parent. Do you want to allow your child to have the final say in where they live and how often they see you, or do you want to be the one making the rules? If you decide to allow your child to stay with the other parent, you’ll want to go through the court system to ensure the documentation has been changed.

No parent wants to lose time with their child, but being a parent means being able to make tough decisions when they come your way.  If you find yourself in a situation where your child no longer wants to live with you, use these tips to help the both of you come to an agreement that keeps your relationship strong and healthy.

 

 

 

 


20
Dec 17

Co-Parenting and Holidays: How to Make it Work

Sharing custody of your child with the other parent can be challenging, but it often becomes more difficult when the holiday season starts to come by. After all, no parent wants to be without his/her child on the holidays, but it’s often a necessity in a shared custodial agreement. Instead of allowing this issue to stress you out, it’s a good idea for you and the other parent to find the best possible way to make it work. Not only will this give you peace of mind, but it will also cause less stress for your child as well, and that’s the ultimate goal. Check out these tips to make co-parenting around the holidays work.

 

Follow the court’s ruling.

In most cases, your co-parenting will likely have a custody arrangement that includes holiday schedules. Most courts will have made this fair, so the best thing for each parent to do is to follow this exactly as it was written out in order to avoid any court-related grievances. However, in the case that you feel the court’s ruling is unfair, you can always petition for a new ruling or you can talk to your ex about creating your own holiday co-parenting agreement on your own.

 

Make it fair.

If you are opting to create your own holiday schedule, the best thing to do is to make it fair for each parent to spend time with the child on holidays. For instance, you can opt for an every-other-year arrangement, whereas you trade off having your child on decided holidays. As an example, if one parent had the child for Easter, then the other parent gets the child for Thanksgiving. The next year, you can switch, so each parent gets the child on different holidays. Should you have holidays you each prefer, maybe you can be fair in simply allowing the parent to have that holiday every year while you have another.

 

You should also be sure that holiday breaks for your child are also fair. For instance, if your child has a two-week Christmas break, then one parent should get the child for a week in order to celebrate appropriately.

 

Be realistic.

One of the biggest holiday challenges is Christmas, as most parents want to see their child’s face on Christmas morning. However, again you need to be fair in your custody arrangement around Christmas. Again, you can opt for the every other year arrangement, or maybe one of you can take Christmas Eve while the other takes Christmas Day. Whenever you’re deciding the best schedule, just be fair with one another. If one parent always gets Christmas morning, it’s unfair to the other parent.

 

Do it together.

One way to totally avoid these co-parenting holiday issues is for each of you to act like an adult and celebrate together. For instance, maybe you can all get together on Christmas morning or night to celebrate the holidays with one another, even if there are other family members involved. Remember that this event is about your child and his/her feelings, not yours, so you need to keep your personal feelings away from the situation. You can alternate whose house you celebrate at every year so that it’s comfortable and fair for everyone. Keep it simple by just allowing your child to open presents and eat some holiday breakfast, and then you can move on to celebrate the rest of the day how you see fit.

Spending time with your child on the holidays is always a joy for parents, and sharing custody with the other parent shouldn’t put a damper on this. Instead, do what you can to create an even holiday schedule and rest assured you’re creating great memories with your child.