Your custody order determines how much time you get to spend with your children and what other obligations you have to them. Whether you negotiated arrangements directly with your spouse or had a judge create the order in a litigated divorce, both of you have an obligation to uphold your custody order and to follow the terms established in it.
However, as your family circumstances change, your custody arrangements may need to change too. Substantial changes to circumstances can justify requesting a modification hearing. The three circumstances below could mean that a return to family court might soon be necessary.
Your children start middle school or high school
As kids get older, there will be more demands on their time. They may also want to join sports teams, intramural clubs or honors programs that require an after-school commitment. When your child’s schedule changes and they have less time for weeknight visitation, that may mean it’s time for you to update your custody arrangements.
You move or change your job
Substantial changes in your life can affect the time you’re able to care for your children. Whether you move in with your new spouse or start a new first-shift job instead of your previous second-shift position, changes to your daily life may require updates to your custody plan.
You have reason to worry about the well-being of your kids
Not everyone can fulfill the obligations of co-parenting or being the sole person responsible for children. If your ex has become neglectful or abusive toward the children, that might be a reason to ask for modification. Addiction issues, mental health problems and other kinds of instability could also lead to a modification request.
Understanding when it’s time to update your Iowa custody order can help you better parent your children as they grow up.