Children grow and their needs change, while their parents may move, change jobs or remarry. As a result of these or a myriad of other circumstances, child custody and/or parenting plans need to be re-addressed if the last court ordered plan is no longer in the best interests of the child. An example of this would be if a parent wants to move his or her residence, and the move would occasion a need to change the parenting plan's schedule. Or, a parent that wants to change the schedule so their child is with that parent more could be the basis for a change in custody.
To change the existing court order, it is necessary to file a “motion to modify” with the court. Cynthia Fox has worked with hundreds of clients to modify or change existing child custody judgments to reflect the changed needs and circumstances after an original order was rendered. This is also a situation where Cindy’s role as a mediator (see Family Law Issues Mediation) can assist the two parents in working together to find a “win-win” resolution for all involved.
When a “motion to modify” is filed, the other party is afforded the opportunity to file a response with the court, but is not required to do so. After that, there is a period of “discovery” or fact-finding during which each side gathers information, consults with experts and/or other witnesses, and assembles the evidence to support its point-of-view.
Although proposed changes in custody are often met with stiff resistance, many parents are able to work out their differences without the need to go to trial. However, when those efforts fail and a trial is unavoidable, Cynthia’s vast experience trying cases where child custody was the central issue can prove to be invaluable.