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AttorneyTom, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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My ex-husband and I have been abiding by a modified custody

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My ex-husband and I have been abiding by a modified custody agreement that deviates from tthe stipulated custody arrangement in our divorce decree for a year. The modified custody arrangement was crafted by both of us and written into a formal document but never signed. My ex-husband now wants to return to the custody arrangment in the divorce decree despite the fact that our agreed upon currently followed arrangement contained no "end" date.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  AttorneyTom replied 6 years ago.
Good morning! I'm sorry to hear about the situation!

To officially modify a court's custody orders, it's necessary to petition for a modification.
The court then evaluates the child's best interests and should modify the order according to those interests.
That said, if parents have kept a certain arrangement for a period of time, the court may be more willing to modify the order to meet that arrangement if it has been working well and if the child has grown accustomed to it.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Although this is not a "formal" or "official" arrangment - arranged and abided by by us - can my ex-husband unilaterally decide to quit abiding by it?
Expert:  AttorneyTom replied 6 years ago.
Until modified, a court order binds both parents.
Therefore, if parents wish to modify a custody order, it's necessary to petition to do so.
The fact that parents have previously agreed to a different arrangement typically does not bind them absent that modification and, until modification occurs, a parent may typically revert to the court's orders.
AttorneyTom and 2 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Does that mean that I have to agree to revert back to the custody order?
Expert:  AttorneyTom replied 6 years ago.
It's not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing.
Unfortunately, parents are typically bound by the court's orders until the orders are modified.
However, you could petition to modify the order to reflect the arrangement that you and the other parent have had in recent times. The court would then review it based on the best interests of the child.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Would I have a decent chance to modify the custody permanently to reflect the current agreed upon arrangement given that the children are accustomed to it and doing well? Would it be worth pursuing?
Expert:  AttorneyTom replied 6 years ago.
It's definitely worth taking it to your attorney.
Courts evaluate such matters in terms of the child's best interests.
The fact that the previous arrangement has been working well and that the child is accustomed to it could work in your favor.
However, I can't really tell you what your chances are, as that requires a greater analysis than can be performed here.
That said, I can tell you that I think you should definitely take it to your attorney, as there may be a good basis to seek such a modification.

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