It can take people months to mentally recover from a difficult divorce. Especially if you didn’t expect your spouse to file for divorce, you may have struggled to respond appropriately to what was a shocking and disappointing situation.
Those who feel blindsided may not have housing arranged for themselves, meaning their lives quickly become unstable during the divorce process. That instability might mean that a judge only granted you visitation or just weekend custody of your children rather than more equally-shared parenting time.
If you feel like you don’t get to see enough of your children, it may be time to go back to court and ask for a modification of your custody order.
How does modification work?
If you and your ex can agree on terms, then you could file for an uncontested modification where the courts simply review and update the custody order. If you don’t agree about the changes, then you will have the opportunity to present evidence to the courts in a contested modification hearing.
Provided that a judge agrees that spending more time with you would be good for the kids, they could very well grant your modification request for more parenting time. The more proof you have of changes in circumstances, like evidence that you’ve secured better housing, the easier it will be to convince the courts that you are ready to increase your parenting time.
Why should you request a formal modification?
When the courts enter a custody order, the terms set in the documents carry the full weight of the family court system. A parent who does not comply with the custody order could face contempt of court allegations.
Although you might be able to talk to your ex and arrange to spend more time with the children, a formal modification will protect you more than just arranging to see the children slightly more often. First of all, by requesting a formal change to the custody order, you ensure that your increased access to the children is enforceable by the courts. Secondly, a formal modification could also reduce your child support obligations, which won’t change if you just reach an informal agreement with your spouse.
Seeking a custody modification can be wonderful for you, your children and the relationship you share if you are ready to spend more time with your children.