Having children means one thing is certain: life will never be the same. In fact, the life of a parent changes frequently as their children grow. Infants, toddlers, school-age children and teens all have very different needs. For divorced parents, this may make it difficult to maintain a working child custody plan without periodically seeking post-divorce modifications.
When the needs of a child change, a custody plan may no longer be effective. Every family situation is unique, and those reasons for changing a plan may be different between families. However, some common changes in dynamics as children grow include the following:
- Changing schools due to academic struggles or better opportunities
- Moving to the next level, such as middle or high school, with different schedules
- Adding extracurricular activities, sports or volunteer work
- Taking a part-time job after school
- Wanting to spend more time with friends
Additionally, one parent may change jobs, remarry or consider relocating at some point, which can dramatically affect a child custody arrangement. These changes produce a different set of circumstances that may be more difficult to resolve without court intervention.
Ideally, both parents expect such changes and are willing to adapt as they come along. Parents working out their own custody plans and post-divorce modifications are often more successful than when they allow a Pennsylvania court to impose those changes. However, even when parents agree on the modifications, having the approval of the courts can provide security for the parents and ensure the changes are in the best interests of the child.