If you have been through a divorce, you probably don’t need to be reminded that life can be unpredictable at best. And yet you need to create a parenting plan at the time of your divorce that is meant to last for the rest of your lives, or as long as your shared child is considered a legal dependent. What are you to do if something comes up and your preexisting parenting plan is no longer a viable option for you? Can you get it modified later?
In Rhode Island State law, post-divorce modifications to parenting plans are permitted, but only under certain circumstances. You cannot hope to have a modification done simply because you changed your mind; the court will want to see evidence of a major or unforeseen life event that has shaken up your respective situations.
Circumstances that could permit the modification of your parenting plan include:
- Unexpected job loss
- Relocation for employment
- Debilitating illness or injury
- Criminal conviction of either parent
- Either parent remarries
- Falsified claims in first agreement
My Life Changed – What Do I Do Now?
If you believe a significant life event has given you proper grounds to file for modification to your parenting plan, the next step is to figure out how it can affect said plan. Not all consequences will extend into all facets of your life, at least not enough for the court to recognize the need for a change.
Portions of your parenting plan that may need to be altered include:
- Child custody
- Child support
- Visitation rights
Example: You earn $400 of child custody each month and take care of your child during the weekend. If you lost your job unexpectedly, you might be able to increase the child custody you receive each month but would probably still be expected to care for your child Saturday and Sunday.
Keep parental agreements in mind when tax season comes around as well. The parent who has primary custody can claim your child as a dependent, and often sees welcome tax breaks because of it. If you believe that you should be able to claim your child as dependent despite not having primary custody, you should consider talking to your ex-spouse about IRS Form 8332, which would permit you to claim dependency instead if the other parent allows it.
For more questions regarding divorce and parenting plans, you can turn to our compassionate and highly-experienced Providence family law attorneys at TJC ESQ. Our law firm has been serving all of Rhode Island since 1989, we are backed by positive client testimonials, and we answer client calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Why not call us now at 401.216.4414 to learn more about what we can do for you during a free case evaluation? You have must to gain and nothing to risk!