Parents can always negotiate between themselves (outside of court) on modifying sections of the parenting plan, but if they can’t agree, it is time to get outside help.
If mediation doesn’t work out, then the parent asking for the change must now prove to the court that the change is necessary and that there has been a significant change in circumstances. The court will look at all the evidence through the lens of what is in the child’s best interest. That last line is an important one. It’s important to frame your arguments to reflect on how it impacts the children – the court is less concerned about how it affects you.
There is a decent amount of paperwork involved. This is just an overview and is not meant to reflect all of the steps required.
The person asking for the change needs to file the paperwork asking to modify the parenting plan. They should file the updated parenting plan, which includes what they want to be changed and a declaration explaining why the court should approve the changes.
Schedule a hearing date. The other party needs to get notified, and then they’ll have an opportunity to respond. You’ll need to file a proof of service – after all, the court doesn’t want to change the parenting plan without proof the other parent knows about it!
Remember to frame your arguments around the best interest of the child, and best of luck!
Chad Foster is a trusted family law and divorce lawyer serving Snohomish and King counties with an office in Bothell. Contact us today to discuss your legal issue.