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Time for change? When to do a custody modification

When Sally and Ben first got divorced, they decided on a half-time, split-week custody schedule. For the first few years, this worked well. Ben had a flexible work schedule and Sally had gone back to school and could arrange her classes around the kids.

But, almost simultaneously, Ben got a promotion that meant a lot of travel, and Sally joined the workforce with a 9-5 day. Suddenly the schedule didn’t work. How and when is a modification made?

What’s best for the kids?

Overwhelmingly courts are concerned with what is in the best interests of the children. In the past decade, most states have encouraged, if not mandated, equal parenting plans. Absent extreme circumstances—such as addiction or abuse—children need both parents in their lives.

Generally speaking, both parents now work, and their schedules are rarely consistent over many years. Too, as kids grow, their lives and priorities evolve. Whether it is extracurricular activities, youth groups meetings or an after-school job, changes are going to happen. What is the best way, then, to accommodate them?

Be flexible

Regardless of whether your divorce was amicable or acrimonious, both parents need to be flexible for the sake of the kids. Good communication is the key to making new arrangements. Once you realize the parenting plan needs a modification, is it best to involve your attorney?

The good news is that you may modify your plan any time simply by agreeing to it. The bad news is that if one parent changes their mind, the current plan takes precedence.

The takeaway? If you absolutely must have the plan adjusted (perhaps because of a new daycare or new school), it is a good idea to have the modification codified in a new court order to ensure compliance from the other parent. Generally speaking, a modification can be made quickly and without excessive cost.


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Mr. Thomas kept me well informed during my lengthy divorce. He always returned my calls within 24 hours, usually sooner. He gave me very good advice and listened to all of my concerns. He always told me what I needed to hear, not necessarily what I wanted to hear. I found him to be a nice, honest and hard-working lawyer.

- Carrie -

Justin and his staff are a great team! Justin represented me after the divorce was finalized and fixed what the original attorney told me was set in stone! Everything we asked for we received, from both the court and the staff. It has been almost two years and I can still contact them for anything I need and they are ALWAYS more than willing to help! I recommend Justin and his staff as much as possible. There is no way I would ever use anyone else!

- Robbie -

Justin Thomas represented me in a divorce and I was very pleased with his work ethic and representation. He was extremely professional and cared about what was in the best interest of my son and me. He kept the cost of the divorce to a minimum, which was great! I believe he provided excellent representation and honestly cared about me, the outcome of my divorce, and most importantly, my time with my son. I have recommended Mr. Thomas to several friends and will continue to do so.

- John -


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Thomas Family Law Firm, PLC
7642 Poplar Pike
Germantown, TN 38138

Phone: 901-443-4599
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