How to Increase Time with Your Children
Many parents are unhappy with the amount of time they have with their children following divorce. As the years pass, they may wish to increase their visitation, but the current child custody order does not allow it. What to do?
Fortunately, parents have options if they want more time. Getting the right legal help, however, is essential, and our Media child custody lawyers are here for you.
Reach an Agreement with the Other Parent
This is probably the fastest method for modifying child custody. Talk with the other parent about how you would like to revise the custodial schedule to provide for more time with your child. If you can agree mutually, then you can update the arrangement. This option is typically less stressful on your child and can be accomplished faster.
Many parents assume that the other parent will immediately reject any proposed revision, but that is not always the case. Have solid reasons for why you want to change the schedule and explain how the other parent will benefit.
Even if the other parent agrees, take your time revising the schedule. There are many landmines in a child custody arrangement, including issues around transportation and holidays. Make sure that your new agreement is sufficiently detailed and memorialize it in writing. Both parents should sign and then submit it to the court.
Request a Modification from the Court
Parents cannot always agree to modify a custodial schedule, so there is another method for getting increased visitation: petitioning the court to modify the custody order. The process differs slightly by county, but judges typically use the same analysis when deciding whether to grant the request. We highly recommend hiring an attorney to assist.
Under the law, a modification will only be granted if it is in the best interests of the child. This is basically the same analysis the judge used when setting the initial custody order. It looks at practically all factors that could be relevant, including the child’s preference. The touchstone is always the same—will the change truly benefit your child’s welfare and safety? You need to convince the judge that the answer is “yes,” because many judges prefer to maintain the status quo if it seems to be working for your son or daughter.
Often, parents struggle to identify what evidence is relevant to present at a hearing, which is why an attorney is helpful. Our Delaware County child custody lawyers can identify what evidence shows that more time with Mom or Dad would be beneficial. For example, you might show that you now live closer to the children and that they want to see you more. Your child might also be acting out, which could be a sign that they need more time with the non-custodial parent.
Barbara Flum Stein & Associates Can Help You
The parent-child relationship is special, and we encourage parents to seek as much time with their children as they can. If we can help the process in any way, contact us to schedule a confidential consultation.