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How do step-parents play a role in custody cases?

Seattle, WA |

My ex wants to modify our parenting plan because he does not want his new wife to have to do so much driving for his and my child. Is that a legitimate reason to change a plan? We currently share custody, though I have majority time.

Attorney Answers 3


The basis for modifying a PP is whether there has been a substantial change in circumstances. That is a subjective standard as opposed to an objective standard, meaning it will be up to the discretion of the Court to make that call based on the evidence provided.

Please note that THESE COMMENTS ARE NOT INTENDED AS LEGAL ADVICE and are for informational purposes only. This response is not intended to create any attorney-client relationship and is only based on the limited facts given. The response might change should additional facts be learned and should not be relied on as legal advice. It is recommended that you consult with an attorney who can properly assess the situation, as well as all pertinent facts, prior to taking any action based on the foregoing statements

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The standard to modify a parenting plan is a substantial change in circumstances. The standard can be met if there is a change of work schedule or move/relocation by the non-primary residential parent which makes the parenting plan impractical to follow. Without knowing more details, it would be difficult to determine whether he would win, but it would center on why the change of transportation is necessary.
If the case proceeds any further by your ex filing a petition or wanting to go to mediation over the issue, give my office a call for a free half-hour consultation by just mentioning Avvo.

If you have been served with formal documentation associated with your question, there may be time limitations for you to file a response. I urge you to seek formal in person advise with an attorney to review your case and options thoroughly. This answer is based upon the information provided. If there is information ommitted, it may affect the outcome of your case.

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An existing parenting plan cannot be changed except by court order. The court won't change the parenting plan unless there has been a substantial change of circumstances and the child won't be harmed in any way. Informal agreements by the parents are not binding. It’s always best to consult with a good family law attorney to discuss the details before you act. See my AVVO Legal Guides on modifications of parenting plans for more information about the legal issues raised by your inquiry. Please keep in mind that although these Legal Guides are often informative, they are no substitute for legal advice from an attorney you have retained for consultation or representation. There are always exceptions to the general rules. Click on my photo. On my AVVO home page click on "Contributor Level - View Contributions" or scroll down further and click on "Contribution - Legal Guides." Scroll down the list of my 31 Legal Guides and select the topics relevant to your question. If you like my answer and Legal Guides, please make sure you mark them as “helpful” or “best answer”. © Bruce Clement

©Bruce Clement. This AVVO Answer is provided for general educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you agree and understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the attorney responding, and no attorney-client confidentiality. The law changes frequently, and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information provided in this Answer is general in nature and may not apply to the factual circumstances described in your question. The applicable law and the appropriate answer may be different in the State or States where the relevant facts occurred. For a definitive answer you should seek legal advice from an attorney who (1) is licensed to practice in the state which has jurisdiction; (2) has experience in the area of law you are asking about, and (3) has been retained as your attorney for representation or consultation. Your question and the attorney’s answer may be used for promotional or educational purposes.

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