Major vs minor modifications to custody orders

On Behalf of | Nov 22, 2021 | Divorce

Your life can change quite a bit as your child grows up, and you may find that need you an adjustment to your existing custody arrangement. Whether you are the custodial parent or the non-custodial parent, you can ask a judge to grant a modification to the parenting plan.

In Washington state, you can request either a major or minor modification when there is adequate cause for the potential change.

Major vs minor modifications

A major modification is a big change to the current parenting plan. These modifications often include significant increases or decreases in the time each parent has with the child.

Minor modifications have smaller impacts on the custody arrangement and do not alter the child’s primary residence or exceed 24 days a year. The need for such modifications must arise out of an involuntary change in one parent’s work schedule or a move to a new home.

Adequate cause

Regardless of whether you pursue a major or minor modification, you must first persuade a judge that there is adequate cause for your request. At an adequate cause hearing, you will need to demonstrate that there has been or will be a significant change in your circumstances, such as a move out of state. If the judge agrees, he or she will then schedule a modification hearing.

Washington courts will only alter established custody orders when there is a compelling reason to do so. A strong argument may be necessary to convince a judge to grant a modification to your parenting plan.