By the time a judge finalizes your divorce or approves your parenting plan, you have likely had your fill of the Tennessee family court system. It is expensive and often frustrating to litigate custody matters and other issues in a pending divorce. You may hope to never see the inside of a courtroom again once a judge approves your divorce.
Unfortunately, even if you spent a lot of time and mental effort to create a parenting plan that will grow with your children, you may need to adjust your custody order eventually. How do you know when it is time to modify the custody arrangements you set in your Tennessee divorce?
When there have been substantial changes
If your children recently started a new school, got a part-time job or joined a team, they will have a lot of demands on their time that could affect your access to them. Similarly, if you move to a new house or start a new job, your availability for the children will change. Under Tennessee law, significant changes to household circumstances can justify a modification request.
When constant adjustments lead to arguments
You and your ex can make changes to your plans when new family circumstances strain your custody arrangements. However, the more frequently you have to change plans at the last minute, the more likely those changes are to strain your relationship with your ex.
Rather than continuing to adjust things on the fly every few days, it may be time to formally modify the plan to better reflect your family’s needs.
When either parent isn’t fulfilling their obligations
It is sad to acknowledge that some parents struggle with their shared responsibilities after a divorce. Maybe your ex doesn’t have a safe place to live, or maybe they have started abusing alcohol and neglecting your children.
If you believe your ex acts in an unsafe manner around your children, you can actually go back to court and ask the judge to change your arrangements to better protect your children. Even if your ex doesn’t agree to the changes, the modification can still move forward if a judge believes the changes are in the best interests of the children.
Recognizing when you need to update your custody arrangements can help you better support your children after a break-up or divorce.