The terms set by the court for child custody in your divorce are official, but they are not permanent. Either parent can ask the state to make changes to the custody or support orders. They can do so by filing a motion requesting a modification hearing. The courts can then review their claims or wishes and potentially adjust the custody order accordingly.
There are many reasons to request a modification of an existing order. Substantial changes in your family circumstances that make it harder for you to pay child support could be one reason. Getting a job with more flexible hours and asking to spend some of your newly acquired free time with your children could be another.
Although it is possible to make informal arrangements with your ex, having the courts officially change the terms via a modification is usually best. A formal modification protects your parenting time with the children and ensures that interpersonal conflicts won’t impact the terms you set.
Modifications, like initial orders, focus on the best interest of the children
If you hope to spend more time with your children, you need to be able to show that that extra parenting time is beneficial for your children, not just for you. The Pennsylvania family courts will always consider what is best for the children when making custody decisions.
For most families, having two involved parents is the best outcome for the children. However, the courts may sometimes limit one parent’s time with the children if they have certain professional or personal issues that impede their availability or parenting ability.
If circumstances have changed in a way that allows you more time or if you have addressed the issues that cause the courts to limit time with your children, asking for modification can be the best option.