I Want More Time With My Kid, How Do I Modify My Child Custody Order?
Co-parenting can be a major challenge in some families. You had a child with another person and, in most cases, planned on spending all your time with your kid as they grew up. Now, you and the other parent are separated and you’re forced to split time.
You are doing your part as a parent but your time with your child is limited and you feel trapped by a child custody order. We’re here to tell you that modifying that order is possible. As family law attorneys, we help families modify custody and support orders so everyone can get the most out of their situation.
It’s important to understand when and how a child custody modification can be made by the courts.
Change in Circumstances
Before a child custody order can be modified, the courts require a “substantial, material, and unanticipated change in circumstances.” This can include a number of changes but the result must serve the best interest of the child.
For instance, if you decided to move into another one-bedroom apartment without notifying the court and believe you should now be given more time with your child because of it, the court may not consider it in the best interest of your child. However, if you were previously in a one-bedroom apartment and were able to get an apartment or house where your child would have a room of their own then the courts can consider this a substantial change that serves the best interest of your child.
Ultimately, you should be looking at the circumstances in your life that prevent you from having more time with your child. Are you hanging around the wrong people? Does your living situation prevent your kid(s) from having their own space? Is there too much distance between you and the custodial parent to reasonably transfer custody back and forth? Does spending extended time with you interfere with their schooling (including being outside of their school district)?
Your Child’s Preferences Change
As noted above, your child’s best interests will always take precedence in family court. One aspect of this may be what your child wants as long as they are considered old enough to make their own decisions.
If your child insists on having more time with you and the court decides that wouldn’t interfere with the child’s best interests then you can file for a change. You cannot pressure your child into saying anything to the court, so it’s important to verify this is something they actually want and are willing to communicate.
Filing for Modification
Once you are confident you can get the court to consider a change, you will have to file a modification with the court. This involves filing a motion to modify the order and a hearing to discuss the substantial change in circumstances and a final decision from the court.
If the court rules in your favor, you will need to work on a new parenting plan that supports the change in custody and consider how these changes will impact both parents.The team at The FAB Law Firm will proudly support and assist you through the modification process. Our team can make sure you have access to the right paperwork and help you solidify your case before you ever get back in front of a judge. If you aren’t in a place to afford an attorney today, we have financing options available so you can get the change you need without paying everything out of pocket. Contact the FAB Law Firm when you are ready to get more time with your child.