How Do I Modify a Visitation or Parenting Time Order?

As a divorced parent, you could one day find yourself seeking a child custody or visitation order modification. What might you need to know about the process?

Common Reasons for a Modification

Family courts usually only modify child custody or child visitation orders when they consider the change to a significant change in circumstances and that the modification would be in the child’s best interests.

Common reasons for child custody modification requests may include:

  • Changes in circumstances: As kids grow, their schedules change, too. That child custody order detailing visitation rights might have worked when your child was still a preschooler but isn’t working now that they are in middle school.
  • Emergencies: Unexpected situations – such as a hospital stay – might necessitate a request to modify a child custody order. Other examples may include crises such as emotional or physical harm of a child.
  • Moves out of state: An existing order outlining visitation may become unworkable if either parent moves out of state. The courts may modify a current custody order to better accommodate the family’s changed circumstances.

Don’t Make Your Own Modification

All child custody or visitation modification requests must be filed with the same court that handled any previous orders for the children. Having the modifications outlined in an enforceable and clear order with a parenting time or visitation schedule can save parents a lot of headaches.

If your ex has not made a court-ordered child support payment in months, you should contact your family law attorney for help instead of blocking them from visitation as payback. If you take matters into your own hands, it is likely to backfire on you in court.

It’s usually best for you and your children if you stick to working with the courts while arguing for your requested child custody modification. Remember that any attempts to keep your child from the other parent could result in very negative legal consequences, including arrest in extreme cases.

Consider a Family Law Attorney

You may be tempted to save your attorney fees by representing yourself in court. Saving money, especially when you have children in the picture, is a good idea in general. But when it comes to presenting your best case for a child custody modification, you may want to reconsider.

There are many reasons why working with an experienced child custody attorney may help you secure a court decision that is truly in your child’s best interests. It is hard to remain objective when the subject is personal. Your attorney is able to be objective and will help guide you. If your relationship with the other parent has strained to the point where communication is no longer possible, having an objective third-party to act as a go-between is critical.

An experienced family law attorney will be experienced with the system and likely very knowledgeable of the other attorneys and judged involved. A reputable family law attorney will serve as your ally in working to secure a child custody modification that makes the most sense for your family and the needs of your children.

Speak to an Experienced Child Custody Attorney Today

This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified child custody lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local child custody attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.

Your Next Step:

Enter your location below to get connected with a qualified Child Custody attorney today.

Additional Child Custody Articles

State Child Custody Articles

Search LawInfo's Child Custody Resources

Related Topics In This Section