The Law Offices of Thomas Marola
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Must we go to court every time we make a parenting plan change?

When a divorcing couple has children, a well-written parenting plan that covers many contingencies often makes the process go smoother. It also makes life easier after divorce. Of course, life has a habit of dealing in the unexpected. Perhaps the parenting plan that you thought would hold up well in practice has not, or several years have passed. Your children are older, everyone's life situations are different, and maybe one of you is even dealing with a health issue.

In such situations, it is reasonable that you would want to change the parenting plan rather than rely on goodwill or "let's figure it out as we go" agreements. While they can sometimes be effective, it really is a big help to see everything down on paper. However, you may be wondering, "Do I have to go to court and get a judge's approval every time my co-parent and I make the change?" The answer is no unless the two of you disagree on the change.

When the parents agree

Many times, the parents agree on what needs changing or are able to compromise. For example, maybe the two issues in play are modifying where your children go on holidays and setting up a cellphone/internet use policy. As long as you and the other parent are on the same page, your lawyers can make these changes and file the modification. It then becomes part of the custody order. That is it. No worrying about whether a judge will try to take control of the plan unless the change is extremely unusual in some way.

When the parents disagree

Of course, the situation is different when the parents disagree. If it has been less than two years since your custody order was set or modified, the courts need to see a drastic change in circumstances, such as one parent refusing to let the kids see the other parent, before hearing the case for a modification. Even after two years, it takes something fairly compelling such as a parent moving out of state for the court to hear a possible modification case.

The bottom line is that either way, you probably will not spend much, if any, time in court.

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The Law Offices of Thomas Marola
2230 S. 108th Street
West Allis, WI 53227

Phone: 414-395-5654
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