Life has a way of changing drastically in the wake of a major event, such as a divorce. The situation you are in when the courts finalize your divorce is likely to be much different than your situation six months or a year later.
During that time, you will have likely worked through some of the emotional consequences of the end of your marriage and taken steps to improve your stability. Depending on your circumstances, you may now be in a position to request a modification of your child custody arrangements.
Minnesota law allows parents to request modifications to parenting plans when there has been a significant change to the family situation. If you believe that the terms of your custody arrangement don't inherently protect your relationship with the children, now might be a good time to look into adjusting it.
Divorce very often results in stability issues for one or both parents
Getting divorced can cause a lot of issues. If you weren't expecting your ex to file, receiving divorce paperwork can be quite a shock. You might have to rush to find a place to live, which may not be an ideal situation for your kids. You could also turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as drugs or alcohol, to help you deal with the stress of the end of your marriage.
That could lead to a situation where the courts do not view you as a stable figure in the lives of your children. That, in turn, could result in an uneven child custody arrangement. The courts will want to do their best to protect your children from the effects of divorce, which could mean allocating more parental rights and responsibilities to the parent with a more stable job or better housing situation.
The parenting plan usually reflects both the current situation and likely future situation of the family involved. However, this doesn't mean that the terms are set in stone. Either parent can request that the courts revisit those terms and adjust them to better reflect your changed family situation. This could mean more parenting time or a larger share of physical and legal custody of your children.
Improving your situation can improve your parenting ability
You may have never stopped caring for your children, but you may have been in a position where you didn't look your best to the courts. Minnesota family courts always need to focus on the best interest of the children in any custody case. If one parent appears unstable, that can be grounds for creating an uneven parenting plan that favors the other parent.
Thankfully, once you address those sources of instability, you can always ask the courts to revisit the parenting plan. Generally speaking, the best interest of the children usually involves maintaining positive relationships with both parents. In other words, the courts will consider allocating more parenting time to you if you can demonstrate that you have addressed issues with employment, housing or substance abuse.
Divorce is difficult for a variety of reasons, and it can bring out the worst in many people. The rest of your future relationship with your children should not end up defined by transitory issues during your divorce. If you truly feel like your life situation has improved, it may be time to look into whether it is possible to modify your custody arrangements and parenting plan.