Going through your divorce may have been one of the most difficult experiences of your life. Understand that your divorce worked hardship on your children as well who had to deal with many difficult life changes as your marriage ended. Even though you did your best to make the changes easier on the kids, you may have nevertheless worried about their welfare. After all it is natural for good parents to be concerned about their children’s best interests.
At the time of the divorce, you may have felt OK with the custody orders or may not have had a choice in the matter after a contested hearing and ruling by the court. Perhaps you have developed new concerns regarding your arrangements. Now, you may wonder whether you could make alterations to the parenting orders.
Is your child in danger?
If you have a reasonable fear that your child will be abused or other subjected to other mistreatment while with the other parent, you may have grounds to seek modification of parenting time orders. After hearing such concerns, the court will work to determine whether your child faces imminent or otherwise immediate danger. If the likelihood of imminent danger exists and there are other factors like domestic violence or if your child’s concerns to visit the other parent that can be shown through competent evidence, the court may see fit to alter a parenting schedule.
Does your ex ignore the parenting schedule?
In the beginning, your ex may have followed the parenting schedule as intended. However, you may have noticed an increasing unwillingness from the other parent to keep up with the agreed-upon or court-ordered schedule, which often makes co-parenting extremely difficult. If a lack of cooperation has led to your desiring a modification, the court will consider evidence about the existing parenting orders, whether by agreement or adjudication, the communication between you and your ex, and why the current parenting orders have not been followed.
Do you or your ex plan to move?
When a parent moves, serious issues could arise with custody arrangements. If you, as the custodial parent, plan on moving, the court will need to determine whether the move will act in the best interests of the children. Additional factors such as the reason for the move, whether the current visitation schedule is still practical and maintainable after the move, and whether some alternate parenting schedule has been tried already, will likely be taken into consideration.
Most judges understand that parenting time modifications have a serious impact on a child’s development. Unless you have provable grounds that a change would be in the children’s best interests on meet certain threshold criteria, the court will not likely alter your current agreement. You should generally consult with an experienced family law attorney to evaluate your individual circumstances and your particular case before spending time and money proceeding to court on your own.