As a parent, you put in a lot of time, thought and effort into creating the best possible child custody agreement. Life changes are inevitable though, and an agreement that once focused on your child’s best interests might no longer be working out. If so, it might be time for a custody modification.
There are many different reasons why you might want to petition the court for a modification of your current custody agreement. One of the simplest reasons might be that your child’s preferences changed as they aged. Unfortunately, there are also more serious reasons for which you might need to consider asking for a modification, as well as actions you should avoid taking.
Do Not Stop Paying Child Support
Spending time with your child is one of the most precious gifts in life. If you feel that you do not see him or her often enough, you might feel justified in withholding child support payments. In reality, this will probably have the opposite effect you are hoping for.
In New York, children have the right to financial support from both parents. If you suddenly stop paying your court-ordered support payments, you will be on the hook for missed payments as well as future payments, but you could actually miss out on time with your child. Most judges do not look kindly on parents who withhold support as a manipulation tactic for increased parenting time.
Do Not Go Behind Your Ex’s Back
Sharing joint legal custody can be a challenge for parents who are still learning how to co-parent. While most parents reach an equilibrium in which they can make important decisions togethers, others struggle with any type of decision regarding:
- Health care
You might be tempted to simply move forward with making big decisions about your child’s life on your own. If you share legal custody and do so without consulting your ex, you could be in violation of your custody agreement. Again, taking this route is more likely to backfire than it is to help you reach your goal.
Consider A Modification Instead
In both these situations, it can be tempting to take matters into your own hands rather than have to go back to court. However, this is rarely the solution parents think it is. Instead, you and your child would both be better served by petitioning for a modification.
Securing a child custody modification does not have to be a scary experience. If you clearly identify the issue with the current agreement and how a modification would improve the matter, you should be able to move forward with the modification process with confidence. Those who are still feeling uncertain may find it easier after first taking the time to learn more about New York family law.