Creating a workable child custody arrangement takes time and could require several drafts. Once finalized, it will still take time to adjust to shared parenting and establish boundaries.
As your life progresses, there could be circumstances that interfere with your initial arrangement. You can request a modification and based on the evidence you provide; the courts might approve an update.
Progress in your career
Career development could be one reason you can no longer maintain your initial arrangement. Changes to your work schedule could prevent you from meeting the obligations you agreed to. An adjustment to visitation dates and times might make your ability to meet expectations more likely.
Unexpected medical emergency
An unexpected medical emergency may disable you from parenting entirely. This could include a car accident or a life-threatening medical diagnosis. Unable to care for your children, you may rely heavily on the help of others with parenting duties during this time. If your condition will take significant time to recover from, an amended custody agreement could provide reassurance and help lower your stress.
Relocation or imprisonment
Relocation is another common reason for a modified custody agreement; however, the reasons must meet court requirements. According to childwelfare.gov, courts will still assess the best interests of your children prior to approving your request. Best interests include the physical and mental health needs of your children, as well as their relationships with siblings and extended family.
If you or your ex face imprisonment, a modified custody agreement is inevitable. It does not mean the former agreement will never happen again, but throughout the duration of the incarceration, you might need to make alternative arrangements.
Your custody agreement will provide important clarification of responsibilities and expectations. Keeping this arrangement updated could reduce confusion and discord.