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Tips for defending against a child custody modification request

On Behalf of | Oct 12, 2023 | Family Law

At any point, your child’s other parent could file a request to modify your existing child custody order. This motion could request a change in physical custody or seek to restrict your visitation with your child.

As a result, the court’s determination on a request to modify child custody can have significant implications for you, your child, and your relationship with your kid. When you head into your custody modification dispute, then, you need to know how to defend yourself and your parenting abilities.

How can you defend against a child custody modification request?

Far too many parents head into court with nothing more than their own word to fight back against the other parent who has filed a child custody modification request. While your testimony can be helpful, you’ll want to be much more prepared than having a few simple remarks and statements filled with hearsay ready to go.

As you ready yourself for the fight ahead, consider doing each of the following:

  • Gather witness testimony: Your child’s other parent might make some bold assertions about your parenting abilities, which will probably be supported by some sort of evidence. You’ll want to contradict that evidence as much as possible. One way to do so is to have witnesses testify as to your parenting abilities, your bond with your child, and any specific incidences that may be in question. You should also anticipate how the other parent will try to attack these witnesses so that you can respond accordingly.
  • Consider requesting a child custody evaluation: These evaluations are aimed at giving the court a neutral perspective on the family’s dynamics, the child’s needs, and the type of arrangement that’s in the child’s best interests. Typically conducted by a mental health professional, this evaluation can be comprehensive, including everything from interviews to observations of parenting time and reviews of relevant records like those pertaining to mental health and the child’s performance in school.
  • Find ways to minimize: If there was an incident that spurred the motion for custody modification, it could be hard to hide the fact that the event itself occurred. What you can do, though, is seek to find ways to minimize how that event impacts your ability to appropriately care for your child. Here, you might be able to argue that your child wasn’t present when the event in question occurred, that the event doesn’t speak to your character as a parent, and that you’ve taken remedial action to correct whatever issue has been brought to light.
  • Try to shift the focus: When you’re defending against a child custody modification request, it can feel like you’re put on your heels. But sometimes the best defense is an aggressive offense. This might be the case in your situation if you have evidence of your own to show that the other parent’s issues pose a threat to the child’s best interests if the existing custody order is modified. Just make sure you have evidence to present in this regard and put the other parent on notice that these issues are going to be raised in court.

Know how to properly navigate your child custody dispute

There’s no one way to approach a child custody modification request. But you need a custom-tailored approach that fits your set of circumstances. Before you can build your strategy, though, you need to know the law and how to present your evidence to the court in a way that speaks to your child’s best interests.

After all, that’s the measuring stick that the court is going to use to make its determination in your case.

While all of this can seem stressful, being proactive can ease the burden. So, if you’re worried about how to navigate your case, then now is the time to get to work.