Your divorce is over, and you were looking forward to a little breathing room. However, the ink was barely dry on your paperwork when your ex-spouse started threatening to take you back to court to get a modification of the possession and access (custody and visitation) orders. You know they’re just being punitive about the divorce, but you’re still worried.
Can they do that? Well, they can try – but they better be well-prepared. The court doesn’t look kindly on modification requests when they’re frivolous.
Asking for a modification before a year has passed is discouraged
Generally speaking, either party can request a modification to the possession and access orders from the court after a year. Prior to that time, a parent can only ask for modification when:
- The child is in a situation that puts them in danger physically or emotionally.
- The parent with sole conservatorship of the child is the one seeking the change (for example, so that they might relocate).
- The parent with sole conservatorship of the child has abandoned them to another’s care for at least six months (unrelated to military service).
The petitioning co-parent must also be able to provide proof to back up their claims, and the change they request must be in the child’s best interests.
In addition, whenever the modification request is filed, the court can punish a co-parent who makes the request simply to punish or harass the other co-parent by making them pay the other parent’s court costs and attorney’s fees.
People say a lot of things when they’re angry that they never do, so try not to let your co-parent’s threats get under your skin. If you are worried they might take action, however, it’s wise to get some legal guidance so that you can protect your precious parent-child relationship.