What to Do When Your Custody Plan No Longer Works
To foster stability for children, courts favor custody plans that are designed to be fairly permanent. But the law also recognizes that things change. Circumstances beyond the control of the parents can render a plan unworkable. In the worst cases, a vindictive parent actively undermines the child custody plan, forcing the other parent to seek relief from the court.
After your custody plan is in place, there are two common scenarios in which you could end up back in court:
- Modification — When a substantial change in circumstances occurs, the court will hear a petition from either parent to modify custody. If the parents agree to a modification, the court must approve it, based on whether it is in the best interests of the child. If the parents cannot agree, litigation ensues.
- Enforcement — When a parent fails to abide by the terms of the custody order, the other parent should seek redress in court. The aggrieved parent shouldn’t engage in self-help. The fact that the custodial parent is withholding visitation does not justify a withholding of support payments by the noncustodial parent. Likewise, the fact that the noncustodial parent is not paying support does not give the custodial parent the right to withhold visitation.
Raising children after a divorce is an ongoing challenge. By working with experienced child custody attorneys such as Bryan L. Salamone and his associates, you receive the counsel you need to protect your interests and those of your children.