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Can Child Custody Agreements Be Changed Without Court Involvement?

On Behalf of | Jan 5, 2022 | Child Custody

After the stress and frustration of getting divorce or handling custody matters following a breakup, you may desperately want to avoid the inside of a courtroom. You and your ex may have already realized that cooperating is an easier way to resolve your conflicts than fighting each other and potentially going back to court.

Once the Ohio family courts approve your custody order, you and your ex will typically need to do your best to uphold the terms set within that document. The custody order will determine how much parenting time you get and when you have access to your children.

Of course, your family circumstances could change at any moment. You might get a promotion or move to a first shift job. Your kids will eventually move on from middle school to high school, with all the schedule changes that advancement brings. Can you and your ex just agree with one another to change your custody order? 

The courts don’t constantly supervise your parenting arrangements

In theory, you and your ex are the only ones actively enforcing your current custody order. You have to handle the daily needs of your children and interact with one another. It is only if one of you alerts the courts to serious problems that the state will engage in enforcement activity.

For example, if your ex refuses to give you your parenting time, you can go to court and have them enforce the order. Similarly, one parent who doesn’t get the children back after their ex takes them could call the police and report a parental kidnapping.

Neither custody enforcement nor police involvement will occur automatically without the parents initiating the process. That does mean that you can agree to make changes to your parenting plan. However, you are at the mercy of your ex if you do so. They could call the police or take you to court at any point if you don’t have those new terms in a court-approved custody order.

Modifying custody can be a simple process

If you and your ex agree about the changes you need to make to your custody order, you can file a straightforward uncontested custody modification request. Provided that there have been substantial changes in your family circumstances and that the courts agree that the changes will be in the best interest of the children, they can quickly approve a new arrangement between parents.

If your ex doesn’t agree to formally modify the order, you can present evidence to the courts in a contested modification hearing and potentially still secure the changes that you desire. Understanding the Ohio rules around child custody will help you better protect yourself when you share parental responsibilities with your ex.

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