To modify an existing Parenting Plan means to change the Parenting Plan.  A Major Modification is a Petition to Change Parenting Plan asking for a big change to your current Parenting Plan.  A Minor Modification asks for only small changes. The standards are different for proving each modification.

You must prove there is a good reason at the first “Adequate Cause” hearing to make a Major Modification of your Parenting Plan.  The burden is on the person wanting to change the parenting plan and the burden is very high and only in limited circumstances.  Consult with an experienced Family Law Attorney like Emily Laz at Althauser Rayan Abbarno before attempting to modify an existing parenting plan.  Call (360) 736-1301 for a consultation in Olympia or Centralia.

Major Modification

For a Major Modification, you must prove there is been a big change in the child’s or other parent’s life since the entry of the current Parenting Plan. The legal term is “substantial change of circumstances.” The substantial change of circumstances must be one of these:

  • The parents agree to the modification and it is in the best interest of the child(ren);
  • The parent with custody under the current Parenting Plan has let the child live with the other parent for a substantial time;
  • The place where the child is supposed to live under the current Parenting Plan is not safe for the child physically, mentally or emotionally, and it would be more harmful to leave the child where s/he is than to move him/her to the other parent’s home;
  • The other parent has been held in contempt of court at least twice in three years for not following the Parenting Plan, or was criminally convicted of custodial interference in the first or second degree.

Minor Modification

The burden for a Minor Modification is not as high. If there has been a substantial change of circumstances in either parent’s life or the child’s life  AND the change is in the child’s best interests, a judge or commissioner may order a minor modification. Examples of Minor Modifications include, a change in either parent’s work schedule;  one parent wants to take the child on a longer vacation than the current Parenting Plan allows.

Modifications of existing Parenting Plans can be complicated. If you want to make a Major or Minor Modification of a Parenting Plan, consult with Emily Laz at Althauser Rayan Abbarno by calling (360) 736-1301 or visiting