No matter how carefully you try to craft the terms of your custody arrangements, you will eventually need to change them. As your children grow and mature, their needs and daily schedules will change as well.
Virginia law allows you to modify an existing custody order after a change in family circumstances. Recognizing when your family needs a modification to its existing custody order can help you minimize co-parenting conflict.
When either parent changes jobs
Working a different shift or having more job responsibilities to take home after work can affect how someone parents and what time they can commit to the children. If either parent changes professions or jobs, that change may justify a custody modification.
When the children reached school age
The custody demands of a preschool child will be very different than the needs of a grade school child.
Both parents may need to make changes to their weekly schedules and therefore to the parenting plan when the children start school and no longer require daycare. Parents will have to address everything from who picks the kids up when they are sick to who takes the children over school breaks.
When either parent neglects or mistreats the children
Ideally, you would only change your custody order for practical reasons, like a new schedule. Unfortunately, many parents have to ask for more parenting time because their ex is negligent or abusive toward the children. Gathering documentation of your allegations can improve your chances of protecting your children in an unstable shared custody arrangement.
Recognizing when it may be time to seek a custody modification will make co-parenting a little easier.