Can I Change A Child Decision-Making Agreement?

Divorce is an overwhelming and life-altering event that can change the trajectory of your life as soon as it is determined. As much as the couple is affected, there is a stark impact on the children’s lives as well.

When parents divorce or separate, they must make arrangements for where their children will live, how frequently each parent will see the children, and how child-related decisions will be made. This decision is made by the court maintaining the child’s best interest as a priority.

When a child’s or parent’s circumstances change significantly, everything related to the child can change – child support, parenting, child decision-making, or parenting time. The idea is that the changes should be in the child’s best interests, though what is possible may be limited by financial constraints.

So the main question that arises in the mind of most parents is if due to unforeseen circumstances, can the child’s decision-making agreement be changed. You can always contact a professional family lawyer to help you with questions like these.

However, to give you a basic idea of how things work, this blog will discuss if changes can be made to a child’s decision-making agreement.

Will I Be Able To Change The Decision-Making Agreement In Court?

The answer is yes, but this is a very complex area of family law. The existing decision-making arrangement will determine the law and process. Changing a decision-making arrangement can have significant legal ramifications, not the least of which is that changing a decision-making arrangement can affect child support payable.

It can be challenging to get along with your partner especially if you did not win the child decision-making case. Little issues can add up and cause you to want to change your divorce agreement. Consider carefully which issues you want to take to court.

For example, it is best not to go to court over issues such as who has to wash your child’s clothes after they have spent time with your partner or because your partner isn’t always on time. Try to find a different way to solve these problems that will save you time and money.

A court cannot change agreements regarding decision-making authority and parenting time unless there are a few valid reasons attached and the change still maintains the child’s best interests as a priority. However, if you and your partner are unable to agree on how to change it, you should hire a professional family lawyer to assist you with child decision-making changes.

Also read: Common Myths About Child Decision-Making Cases

When Will The Child Decision-Making Agreement Changes Be Valid?

Cases, where a custody order has been modified, include situations such as:

  • In the long run, the change is in the children’s best interests.
  • The parent with primary custody of the children has repeatedly obstructed the other parent’s access to the children.
  • The parent with primary custody of the children has attempted to alienate the children from the other parent.
  • Child protection workers have apprehended the child.
  • The child has been abused by the parent with whom the child lives the majority of the time.
  • A responsible child has expressed a desire to live with the other parent.
  • The courts are unlikely to change custody if the children are content in their current stable and secure environment.

Parenting schedule orders and agreements are most commonly varied due to:

  • One of the parties is constantly late or cancels visits frequently
  • The child is older and wants to spend more time with the visiting parent,
  • A party has moved, and the old parenting schedule is no longer convenient,
  • The child wishes to see the visiting party more or less frequently.

While the Divorce Act allows for the modification of an order, the threshold for establishing a material change, as set out in case law, is challenging to meet. The unusually high threshold helps to ensure that parties can rely on court orders and prevents the judicial system from becoming overburdened with trivial claims.

A Skilled Family Lawyer Can Assist You

The variation process is time-consuming and complex, and it may necessitate the use of legal counsel. If you are considering changing an existing order or agreement, a professional lawyer can be a valuable resource.

Expert family lawyers can provide a variety of legal services that are tailored to your specific needs and budget. They can assist you in approaching a change in decision-making responsibility or parenting time, from full representation to drafting or consulting services.

About Peak Family Law

Peak Family Law is an accredited family law firm in Edmonton. We have a team of highly skilled lawyers who are familiar with the regulations related to divorce, the division of assets, child decision-making and other family-related matters.

Therefore, if you are looking for experienced Edmonton divorce lawyers to get legal advice and assistance, you can contact us today.

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