After a court makes an order for parenting time, it’s possible for your situation to change. You might get a new job with hours that overlap with your parenting time. Or your child could start a new after-school activity that happens during your parenting time. If there is a change like this that creates a problem with your old parenting time schedule, you can ask the court to change it. This process can take anywhere between a few months to 2 years.
If you’re concerned and seeking to majorly restrict the other parent’s parenting time, you should speak with a lawyer. This is more complicated and can have serious impacts on your child and your family. You can find organizations that can connect you with a lawyer or other legal help on this page under "Legal Help and Lawyers."
Requirements for a parenting time change
To get a parenting time order changed, you must show the court that:
- The existing schedule is no longer in the child’s best interest, AND
- A different schedule will meet the child’s best interest.
The court will consider several factors when considering parenting time changes:
- The distance between each parent’s residence
- The health and safety of the child
- The amount of time the child will spend with siblings
- The mental and physical health of all parties
- Each parent’s willingness to reschedule missed visitation and to help the other parent easily exercise visitation rights
- The age of the child
- The child’s adjustment to home, school and the community
How to start a parenting time change
To start a parenting time change, you have to file a motion in court. Find the forms you need to file a motion for change in parenting time. Explain your proposed changes and why they meet the requirements above. File them in the court where the original order was made. In the case of divorced parents, this is typically the domestic relations court, and in the case of parents who were never married, this is typically the juvenile court.
After you file your motion, the court will schedule a hearing. You must go to the hearing. Otherwise, the court will likely rule for the other parent. Read more to learn what happens at a hearing to change parenting time.
Changes in parenting time can have a huge impact on your child and your family. If you’re trying to have your parenting time order changed, it is important to get a lawyer if you can. This is especially true if you and the other parent don’t agree. You can find organizations that can connect you with a lawyer or other legal help on this page under "Legal Help and Lawyers."