When a judge signs off on your divorce and child custody arrangements, they probably hope never to see you again.
What they would prefer is that when minor issues crop up regarding how you share parenting, you can sort them out amicably between you. That said, there are some situations where you definitely should consider returning to court and have them approve a modification. Here are the main ones:
If one of you wants to leave the area with the child
Courts like to see both parents play a consistent role in their child’s life. Hence, they will often put the brakes on one parent’s attempt to leave the area and take the child with them – as that would affect the other parent’s rights to spend time with their child and the child’s ability to spend time with their parent.
So, even if you and your co-parent agree to this move, you should always get it signed off by a court. If you can’t agree, you will need to present your arguments to the judge and let them decide.
Where safety becomes an issue
Your child’s safety must be your priority, and it is the court’s priority, too. So, if you discover your ex has become a danger to your child’s safety, you may need to petition the court to modify custody. You’ll need solid reasons and proof of the risk.
If your co-parent fails to stick to the original arrangement
Maybe your co-parent tends to turn up a few minutes late to drop off or pick up your child. A court won’t be interested in that. They would take an interest in more severe breaches of the agreement – such as consistently failing to show up at all or refusing to release the child when it is your turn to have them.
If you are unsure about whether you need to apply for a custody modification, it is wise to get a legal opinion.