Washington courts are generally reluctant to modify parenting plans. The courts approve parenting plans with the best interests of the children in mind and parents who wish to modify these decisions will often have to show that there has been a sufficient change in circumstances for a parenting plan modification to receive approval. If you would like to modify your parenting plan, the best course of action is to speak to a qualified child custody lawyer in Spokane, Washington. Of course, there are some important questions to consider before seeking legal changes to your parenting plan.

Does the other parent agree to modifications to the parenting plan? The best way to get the court to agree to modifications to a parenting plan is to petition the court with both parents in agreement about the changes that are to be made. In general, courts will often honor both parents’ wishes. A family lawyer can work with you and the other parent to make modifications in the best interest of the child and in the best interest of both parents. The chances that your parenting plan will be approved under Washington law increase dramatically if you can make modifications to the parenting plan outside of court. Even if you are not sure if the other parent will agree to the changes you desire, it might be in your best interests to meet with the other parent in the presence of a qualified child custody lawyer to see if a new agreement can be reached.

Have one of the parents been found guilty of domestic violence? A parent’s new history of domestic violence may be sufficient to convince the court that a significant change in circumstances has occurred.

Have you already deviated from the current parenting plan? Sometimes, agreements made in court aren’t followed to the letter of the law on a daily basis. For instance, set dates for vacation time may change, or a parent with sole custody may realize, over the course of daily life, that a shared custody situation is better for the children and for the family as a whole. Parents may mutually agree to deviate from the parenting plan in making everyday life decisions for their children. If you can demonstrate that both parents have already deviated from the current parenting plan that is in place, and can show that these changes are in the best interests of the child, then the courts may view your parenting plan modification more favorably.

Are you moving or getting a new job which will impact your schedule? The needs of parents and children change as life circumstances evolve. If you have changed jobs, or if you are moving, a parenting plan modification may be required to reflect these new circumstances. In general, the courts place limits on the degree and severity of changes that can be made, so it is very important to consult with a family lawyer before petitioning the court for a parenting plan modification. Additionally, voluntary work or schedule changes may not be accommodated by the courts.

If you want to move forward with a parenting plan modification, you’ll likely have to attend an adequate cause hearing first, which involves filing required forms, and demonstrating to the court that a substantial change in circumstances has taken place. A qualified family attorney can review your unique situation to determine whether a parenting plan modification is possible. Visit Powell Law Offices today or call 509-325-4828.