Will The Courts Be More Apprehensive To Alter A Parenting Time, Custody, Or Support Order If The Final Order Was Granted Just A Year Ago?
In Kentucky, the law presumes that if you want to change a parenting time, custody, or support order within the first two years after it’s entered, it has to be a compelling factor that generally rises to the level of serious endangerment. That’s a pretty high standard. CPS is usually involved, or the child has been physically abused. Something major has to have happened to warrant the change. Not all states have that. In Indiana, there’s no time limit. However, the courts are going to be much more suspicious of a person coming in three months after the decree was entered compared to somebody coming in three years later when the child is older, the parties have different jobs, and/or are planning to move. Judges tend to look back at the last thing that occurred in the case when they’re reviewing any new petition to modify. That can sometimes speak to whether somebody has a valid reason for coming back or just trying to undo a result they didn’t like before.
What Evidence Can Help A Request To Petition The Court For A Change In Parenting Time Or Child Support?
Evidence that can help a request to petition the court for a change in parenting time or child support are education records. In some cases, particularly within the past year with virtual schooling, if a child is not getting the assignments or making it to school, that is an indication that the child may be suffering some form of educational neglect in one of the homes. Having the attendance records, school records, and grade report cards can help people get modifications if educational issues are found. In cases where a child has been diagnosed or one of the parties has developed issues on the medical front, the medical records are another common form of evidence that can be used. Our firm also tends to use court records and criminal records. In a situation where a parent starts dating someone that has a criminal history or domestic violence history, that can concern the other parent. That person perhaps shouldn’t be around their child. As such, we use those types of records to seek modifications.
In today’s age of social media, screenshots of posts can be used as evidence. Parents should be careful not to post anything derogatory to the other parent online. If the child has a phone, they can be exposed to the parents’ derogatory posts to one another. The same applies to text messages. These types of things are labeled as exhibits in court to help or be used against parties in their cases.
Should Parents Try To Work Out A Custody Or Support Matter On Their Own Before Involving The Courts Or Filing Any Petitions?
In most cases, it’s appropriate for parents to try to work out a custody or support matter on their own before involving the court. Currently during the COVID-19 pandemic, some courts have put in emergency protocols to try and keep the dockets down. Before parents file a motion, they have to write down any efforts that they’ve made. They have to certify that they’ve tried to resolve their matter. Judges don’t want anybody coming in and asking for something without them discussing it with the other parent first. Perhaps things could be resolved without the involvement of the court.
Even if those rules go away, I think courts always encourage people to resolve their matter with each other first. An exception to the rule may be if there is a domestic violence situation and one of the parents has a protective order against the other parent.
In some cases, there is a lot of baggage. Sometimes the parents have just had it with each other. Even though they may be behaving as well as anybody could in a situation like that, it could be difficult to work things out without some kind of assistance. That’s when people can use our services. We can approach the situation from a collaborative perspective or an uncontested position. It might be better to send a letter to the other parent or their attorney. Attorneys should also make an effort to resolve the issue, try to keep costs down, and avoid unnecessary court battles. Whether the parent does it directly or through counsel, a court will generally want to see that there was some effort made. They want to see if there was any objection or resolution. Even if the parties are arguing about holidays, that’s okay as long as the issues get resolved or at least minimized.
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