Agreeing on a Parenting Plan
The custody agreement created at the time of your divorce represents the Court's opinion on your child's situation at the time of the divorce. Since then, you or your child may have experienced any number of changes in life. Your child will of course be older or you could have moved, changed shifts at work, any number of things might have transpired since the initial custody judgment was made. No matter the circumstance, it is likely that your custody agreement might not have foreseen many of the changes in your lives. If your child spends the majority of his or her time with your ex and your ex loses his or her job, for example, your child's future might be more challenging with that parent. Remember that the Court typically will only accept modifications to the custody judgment if there has been a finding of a change in circumstances arising out of and pertaining to custody of the child. Because the Court values stability and consistency so highly, you must be able to demonstrate a significant change in circumstances first, only to then, once that hurdle has been met, be allowed to present evidence as to what is best for your child in this context.
If you need to relocate for any reason--work, cost of living, or just a simple new beginning--you may have difficulty renegotiating your custody agreement. If you are the sole custodial parent, or even if you share custody, and want to take your child or children with you, expect a reevaluation of the agreement. Remember that any decision made by the Court must revolve around the child's best interests. The original custody agreement reflected what the Court believed that to be at the time of divorce, and relocating could change those opinions.
One key to being a successful parent after divorce is to clearly and directly follow the law. It is never a good idea to sneak around or do anything that a court would consider illegal. Sneaky, underhanded actions can result in penalties for the parent, ranging from fines to losing custody. In an effort to understand how to act transparently, consider a post-divorce scenario where the court order (typically the Judgment) provides that the son will live with mom. He is, however, actually living with his father, even though father does not have court-ordered custody. In this case, the father is technically in violation of the divorce judgment; the new arrangement is, after all, not what the judge ordered. Even if Mom approves of the child living with Dad, the situation still lacks a judicial "stamp of approval."
Picture this: Your ex-spouse takes the children without warning and moves to a foreign country. This nightmare becomes reality for all too many parents. What do you do if your children are now thousands of miles away with your ex? Fortunately, parents are not entirely powerless in this situation. International child abduction is a serious problem that the international community has taken steps to address. Abduction is principally addressed by an international treaty titled "The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction." This treaty is a formal agreement between 73 member nations, including the United States and other nations such as the U.K., Korea, and Brazil.
Adultery is usually seen as reason to get a divorce. Spouses who have been cheated on typically feel angry and believe that continuing their marriage to their partner no longer makes sense. Still, some spouses choose to remain married even after discovering their partner's infidelity.
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage. This sequence of events was once the "norm" in our society, and many continue to follow the traditional route. A growing number of couples, however, choose (or end up with) children before marriage. If these unwed couples break up, they face the same custody and visitation issues faced by married couples.
If you are sharing parenting duties with a former spouse and desire to relocate for any reason-work, cost of living, or just a simple new beginning-you may have difficulty renegotiating your custody arrangement. Whether you have sole custody or you share custody, if you want to take your child or children with you when you move, expect a reevaluation of the custody arrangement.
Heading back to school in the fall can be a challenge for you in the wake of divorce, especially in a joint custody situation. Your child can also feel the effects of such an overwhelming change in the family unit, changes that will magnify with a new routine. There are simple steps you can take to help ease your child into a new school year without the added stress of adapting to sharing time between parents.
When you were married, you and your spouse may have taken frequent vacations, across the country or even across the world. Your friends may have applauded your decision to expose your children to different cultures and experiences. While travel certainly has positive aspects, it can become problematic after divorce. After divorce, each parent must generally clear any travel plans ahead of time with the other parent.