A parenting plan defines where a child will live and when, as well as both parents’ legal decision-making rights and can be mutually updated by the parents at any time. If both parents agree to make a change, they can do so within a week, two weeks, or years of the current order with the help of an attorney.
The Mesa family court located at 222 N Javelina Dr must sign off on an official order modifying parenting time and verify that the agreement is in the best interests of the child. Local judges typically do not challenge an agreement between parents unless it is egregious. Parents are given a lot of leeway when deciding what is in the best interests of their children.
If there is something in the agreement that is completely contrary to the best interests of the child, such as having no contact with another parent when there is no allegation of abuse, neglect, or substance abuse, the judge may ask for more information to understand the situation. A Mesa child custody modification lawyer from our firm could help you assert your children’s needs in and out of the courtroom and ensure that their best interests are upheld.
One parent might want to modify a parenting plan without the other party’s agreement, or they may both want to change it in different ways. For example, both parents may agree that they want equal parenting time, but one may be in favor of a week-on/week-off schedule while the other is in favor of a schedule where the parents switch every other weekend and have set days during the week.
Furthermore, parents may agree to equal parenting time but not on how it should be structured. They must go to court and get a decision from a family law judge. In order to do that, they must meet certain statutory requirements with the guidance of a Mesa attorney with experience in custody modifications.
What is the Importance of Children’s Best Interests in Mesa Custody Modification Cases?
The court has a general obligation to maximize each party’s parenting time, and the only reason why it wouldn’t do that is if it decided for some specific reason that such an arrangement is not in child’s best interest. If you truly believe that it’s not in the best interest of your child or children for the other parent to have equal parenting time or to have their parenting time maximized, you should consider petitioning the court for a modification of custody.
It’s important that you think about everything in the context of the best interest of your children and consult with an attorney, because there are a number of statutory factors the court will look at. You need to make sure that you’re doing the analysis the correct way, because what’s important to a parent may not be what the legislature has said should be important to the judge, or you may simply need to tweak the substance of how you structure your argument.
Unfortunately, there are no slam dunk cases, and there are no guaranteed outcomes. A Mesa attorney from our team could help make sure you’re doing everything you can to put yourself in the best position to be successful in your petition for modification.
Material Change in Circumstances
If parents are asking the court for a change to an existing custody order and they do not have an agreement, they must prove that there has been a substantial and continuing change in circumstances since the entry of the last order. If nothing has changed since the last order, the court will not grant a modification. Examples of a material change in circumstances include:
- A breakdown in communication between the parents
- The children are older and have a preference
- Substance abuse issues
- Domestic violence
- Relocation of one of the parents
Other considerations could require the assistance of an attorney.
Are There Any Restrictions on Modifying Child Custody in Mesa?
Unless a parent alleges an emergency, they cannot ask for a change in parenting time earlier than one year from when the last order was entered, even when there is a change in circumstances. When a parenting plan is entered by the court and one parent wants to modify it while the other does not agree, they are prohibited from making any changes unless they allege that the child would be in danger.
Mesa courts place restrictions on requests for child custody modifications because they do not want to be inundated with constant requests for alterations. When there is an emergency and one parent claims that there is a serious risk of harm to the child, they can ask for a change at any time, regardless of whether one year has passed.
Reach out to a Mesa Child Custody Modification Attorney Today
Proving that your family has undergone a substantial and ongoing change in circumstances may be challenging without qualified legal counsel. All decisions involving the care and custody of a child must be made in their best interests.
Working with an experienced Mesa child custody modification lawyer could give you a substantial advantage in advocating for your family’s needs in court. Get in touch with our legal team today to learn more about making legally binding changes to your current child-sharing order.