Imagine you have a 50-50 child custody plan that allows your child to live with you half of the time each week. However, you just got hired by the local fire department as a firefighter. It’s an excellent opportunity, but your work hours are anything but normal and your current child custody schedule isn’t going to work anymore.

Fortunately, your child custody schedule is not set in stone and — if you experience a significant change in your circumstances — you might be able to modify the arrangements. Here’s what you need to do:

Get familiar with your child custody orders or child custody agreement

It’s important that you fully understand the terms of your child custody orders or child custody agreement. Within this paperwork, you may find a clearly defined procedure for requesting a modification. That procedure might involve contacting the other parent to discuss the situation and modify your schedule in a way that works best for everyone involved.

Ask the other parent to agree to a new plan

The easiest way to change your child custody arrangements is to ask the other parent to agree to the modification. If your change of circumstances involves a new job with an odd schedule — like a nurse, emergency room doctor, police officer or firefighter — you might or might not be able to find a solution that works for you and your ex. Hopefully, with some creative planning and help from a family law attorney, you can find a solution on which both you and your ex can agree.

File a petition to modify your child custody arrangements

If the other parent of your child refuses to modify the plan, you may need to file a petition with the court. If you can illuminate (1) the significance of your change in circumstances and (2) why the modification is in the best interest of your child or children, you may be able to get the court’s permission to modify your arrangements.

Want to modify your parenting plan? Learn more about Texas child custody law

If you want to modify your child custody plan, a thorough understanding of Texas child custody laws will help you (1) draft and file a suitable petition to modify; (2) strategically argue your points in court; and (3) preserve your ability to spend as much time as possible with your children.