This will be the first part of a two-part blog discussing things such as fathers child custody rights and making changes to child support agreements. As your child’s situation changes, the legal parenting plan, set in place by the court may be changed. The first thing that must be done is to talk with the other parent to see if changes to the plan can be agreed upon.
Parents who agree on changes can perform what is called a simple or minor change. The changes usually consist of days, times, and exchange locations. However, if a parent is seeking a more significant change, such as where the child resides for the majority of the time, a new court order must be put in place unless the agreement is filed with the court in a formal manner and approved. If the change is contested it is highly recommended that you consult a lawyer.
Filing a parenting plan while in agreement
When both parents agree on the changes to be made, they may file the changes together in court. This is called a stipulation. Depending on the change, a stipulation can be put into place by the court without the need for a formal hearing. You can also ask your lawyer for help in this matter. Even if you have limited funds, you can still receive help from a public attorney. However, public attorneys will only be able to help partly in matters regarding mothers’ and fathers child custody rights. A lawyer providing limited service may charge a small fixed fee or by the hour. This lawyer can be there for every step of the process, providing representation, drafting the motion, reviewing it, and appearing in court with you.
Filing a parenting plan while contested
When the parents disagree on the changes, in order for the changes to be made, a contested hearing must be conducted. The court requires that the parent requesting the change give evidence that meets the legal burden of proof that the change will benefit the child. The parent in conflict may also provide evidence to combat this proof. No matter which side you are on, it is recommended that you hire a lawyer as these cases can be legally complex.