In the popular mindset, divorce is a cut-and-dry procedure. A couple files papers, dukes out the details in the conference room or the courtroom, and then go to their separate ways except for visitation and decisions about the kids.
In practice, of course, when children are involved divorce is a long-term process that can involve years – even decades – of tweaking and adjusting. What might have seemed like an ideal custody agreement at the time can suddenly become incredibly unworkable as life situations change. But in practice, what do you do when your New York child custody agreement is not working anymore?
Contact the Spouse
It is entirely possible that your spouse will be amenable to making changes to your existing custody situation, so if your New York child custody agreement is not working you should start with contacting your former spouse and having a conversation. If you can agree on the changes, contact your attorneys and have a new plan drawn up for submission to the court.
Have a Good Reason
If you cannot come to an agreement, you will have to petition the court to order the changes you need, offering legitimate reasons, which may include:
- Change in living location of either spouse making visitation difficult
- Changes in income
- Suspicions that the children are not being properly supervised, are being abused, or put into dangerous situations
- Serious illness
- The custodial parent has developed a drug or alcohol problem
- Belief that the child would be better off with the other parent
- Belief that a new spouse is undermining your parental authority or standing in a way that harms the children
When your New York child custody agreement is not working, be prepared with clear reasons for requesting changes before filing.