Changing a custody agreement in British Columbia can be a daunting task. When parents separate or divorce, they often create a custody agreement that outlines how they will share parenting responsibilities and time with their children. However, as time passes, circumstances may change, and the original agreement may no longer work for the parents or the children. In this article, we will explore the necessary steps to change a custody agreement in BC.
Step 1: Determine the reason for the change
The first step in changing a custody agreement is to determine the reason for the change. There are a variety of reasons why a custody agreement may need to be modified, including the relocation of one parent, changes in work or school schedules, the child`s preference, or concerns about the safety and well-being of the child. Once you have determined the reason for the change, you can begin the process of modifying the agreement.
Step 2: Discuss the change with the other parent
Before filing any legal documents, it is essential to discuss the proposed change with the other parent. It is best to approach the conversation in a calm and respectful manner, keeping the child`s best interests in mind. If both parents can agree on the change, they can draft a new custody agreement together and file it with the court.
Step 3: Consider mediation
If both parents cannot agree on the proposed change, you may want to consider mediation. Mediation is a process in which a neutral third party helps the parents resolve their differences and come to an agreement. Mediation can be an effective way to avoid going to court and can be less stressful and costly than litigation.
Step 4: File a court application
If mediation is unsuccessful, the next step is to file a court application. You will need to fill out a Notice of Motion form and file it with the court. The form should include the reason for the change, the proposed changes to the custody agreement, and any supporting documents, such as letters, affidavits, or reports.
Step 5: Attend a court hearing
Once the court receives your application, a hearing will be scheduled. Both parents will need to attend the hearing, and the judge will review the proposed changes and any evidence presented by both parties. The judge will make a decision based on the best interests of the child.
Step 6: Implement the changes
If the court approves the proposed changes, the new custody agreement will be filed with the court and become legally binding. Both parents should review the new agreement and make sure they understand their rights and responsibilities.
In conclusion, changing a custody agreement in British Columbia can be a challenging and emotional process. It is crucial to approach the situation with an open mind and a willingness to work with the other parent for the well-being of the child. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure that the process is as smooth and stress-free as possible.