One of the most difficult challenges when parents divorce or break up will be determining how to divide parenting time and financial responsibility for the children. Child support and custody orders determine what obligations parents have to their children and to one another following their divorce.
For many couples in Ohio, custody or support modifications will only occur when the courts occasionally do a periodic review and update the support required from one of the parents. Otherwise, changes will only happen when one of the parents requests a formal modification.
There are numerous different times in your children’s lives when a modification will potentially be necessary, and taking timely action can reduce the tensions involved in co-parenting.
When young children start school
Custody arrangements for young children are often quite in-depth, as parents have around-the-clock responsibility for the children. A child starting kindergarten or first grade will have a very different schedule than a child only attending preschool or daycare.
Your family will likely need to change the division of parenting time and possibly increase support to reflect the increased costs incurred when a child enrolls in school.
When a child moves into middle or high school
As children grow older, their daily time in school will become only one of several demands on their time. Starting in middle school and continuing in earnest through high school, many adolescents and teenagers will have extracurricular activities.
From school sports and debate club to 4-H and even part-time jobs, there may be many demands on your children’s time after school, on the weekends and throughout the summers. You may need to adjust your parenting schedule to accommodate those new demands and ensure that both parents are still playing an active role in the children’s lives.
When the children have medical issues
Sometimes, modifications are necessary not because of the maturation of a child and changes to their schedule but rather because of a medical issue they develop.
Whether your primary care physician diagnoses your son with muscular dystrophy or your teenager gets into a car crash that results in a brain injury, there could be more parenting time demands all of a sudden that your family will have to cover, as well as the possibility of additional financial obligations due to new medical requirements or unique childcare needs that increase the cost the family incurs.
Essentially, when something in your life or your child’s life changes in a way that will alter how much your child requires in financial support or force dramatic changes to their schedule, it may be time to consider going back to court to change your custody or support arrangements. Knowing when it may be time to secure modification to an existing court order can help your family minimize the conflict involved in co-parenting.