It’s not uncommon for child custody agreements to be modified over the course of children’s formative years. What was best for your young kids when you divorced may not work as they get into their teen years. Perhaps kids’ lives get too filled with extracurricular activities to be moving back and forth between homes every few days. Sometimes kids go through phases where they simply need or want to be with one parent more than the other.

Further, parents’ circumstances often change. One parent may move some distance away. Another parent may remarry.

If you believe that your custody agreement needs to be modified for your children’s well-being, the first step is to approach your co-parent. He or she may readily agree or may suggest another solution to help resolve the issue. Your co-parent may propose some additional modifications.

If the two of you can work out your modifications, with the guidance of your attorneys, you can then present the modified version to a judge for approval. Judges will generally approve parent-proposed changes as long as they’re in the children’s best interests.

Where things get more complicated is when one parent wants modifications, but the other doesn’t. If that’s the case, a judge will likely have to decide the matter. As your attorney will tell you, you’ll need to have evidence to back up the need for a modification.

This could be something as simple as multiple texts and emails from your child about things that have occurred while staying with the other parent. If there’s a more serious issue of substance abuse or violence, you may have police reports that you can present.

If you’re seeking a modification that your co-parent doesn’t agree to, talk with your Rhode Island family law attorney. He or she can tell you whether you have a solid case for getting a change to the agreement and can help you make that case as effectively as possible.