Parenting-time agreements are not necessarily permanent in divorce cases. They can evolve and change, and, sometimes, modifications are necessary for the child’s best interests.
It’s true that the initial agreement between divorcing couples with children is a court order. However, that agreement may get revisited periodically, especially when life changes and certain challenges surface.
An endangered child, when parenting plan ignored
Here are some of times when a time-sharing agreement must get prompt review and possible modifications:
- A child is in danger: Signs of domestic violence and abuse must get prompt attention from the court. A child cannot thrive in such an environment and may be severely harmed.
- Specific instabilities of a parent: This may include alcohol and drug abuse along with mental illness and depression. Perhaps this parent already had these challenges, or the divorce pushed them over the brink. Once again, the court can intervene.
- A parent disregards the parenting plan: A dismissive and uncooperative parent may attempt to flout the rules and try to limit the children’s time with the other parent. Such actions only harm the children. A judge will look sternly upon such behavior.
- The relocation of a parent: This often happens when a parent remarries and moves to a distant location. A court will consider how well the children would adjust to such a change and how much the move will interrupt the child’s life from school to friendships and support system.
A child’s best interests must remain the priority. Certain disruptions and obstacles may force a judge to modify time-sharing plans.
Time-sharing agreements benefit both parents
To the extent possible, the courts prefer that both parents remain in their children’s lives. Time-sharing agreements are designed with that in mind. However, these agreements are subject to change, especially when circumstances such as those we’ve noted surface.