Many people view child custody as a matter that is handled only during divorce proceedings, an issue that doesn't change. The truth is that child custody is an ongoing concern for parents and children in nearly all cases because circumstances change. Depending on how each parent's life progresses after a divorce, the terms of a custody arrangement could and should change to better reflect the present circumstances of the parents.
In almost every instance, the purpose of child custody is to reach an arrangement that is in the best interests of the child, but that is also fair to the parents. Courts in Michigan and many other states throughout the country have begun to favor custody arrangements that favor joint custody in the form of parenting plans, but these parenting plans may change for any number of reasons, such as a new relationship, new work conditions or even relocation.
Of course, every parent's circumstances are different, but imagine you were employed at a job that allowed you to work a steady 40 hours per week. You may have specifically devoted some free time, perhaps on weekends, to spending time with and taking care of your child. However, if you receive a promotion that requires you to work longer weeks, or the weekends, for instance, the parenting plan would need to change in order to reflect the new schedule you maintain.
Life does not end after a divorce. Parents may move on to other jobs outside of the state of Michigan or enter into new relationships in which partners or spouses may enter into a parenting role. These new circumstances will affect child custody and parenting plans, and in order to ensure that the plan remains fair to both parents and in the best interests of the child, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney. If changing circumstances have affected your parenting plan, please visit our webpage to learn how we can help you change your child custody agreement to reflect your new circumstances.