For many couples going through divorce in Nebraska, the terms of custody for their minor children is the most contentious and emotional issue. Although the courts typically favor shared custody arrangements, the way that parental responsibilities and rights get split up may not be very equal.

There are many reasons for unequal parenting outcomes in a divorce. One reason could be that one of the parents is going through a difficult time during the divorce. Whether they have trouble securing a place to live or choose to self-medicate their emotions about the divorce with alcohol or drugs, this can leave the courts to limit that person’s time with the children.

Other times, one spouse may acquiesce to the requests made by their ex, only to later realize that they regret that decision. Regardless of why you are unhappy with your current parenting plan, if there has been a material change in circumstances, you have the right to request that the courts modify your parenting plan.

Modifications can affect both support and custody

Your parenting plan as approved by the courts in Nebraska includes an outline of both your parental rights and responsibilities. Parental rights include parenting time, as well as the legal authority to make decisions regarding your children. Parental responsibilities often include financial obligations, such as child support.

Depending on the contents of your original parenting plan, you have the right to request a modification of both custody terms and support levels. If your ex has much more time with the children than you, if you can show that your relationship with the children has improved or you have reached a more stable point in your life, the courts should consider changing your parenting plan to more evenly split up parenting time. After all, it benefits the kids to see both of their parents frequently.

If your income has significantly decreased, that could be grounds for reducing child support obligations. Having more parenting time with your children can also impact how much child support you have to pay. What’s important to understand is that while the courts will always put the needs of the children first, they will look closely at your circumstances when making custody and support decisions in a modification hearing.

If you feel like you want more time with your kids, a modification is often best

Unless you have an amicable relationship with your ex, chances are good that they won’t feel excited about the idea of losing time with the children and potentially facing a reduction in child support payments as well.

While informal agreements can sometimes resolve one parent’s desire to spend more time with the children, many times, an official agreement is necessary to secure those parental rights. If your ex won’t agree to amicably adjust your parenting time or support obligations, it may be time to ask the courts to step in and consider adjusting your parenting plan.