3 Steps You Can Take To Gain More Custody Of Your Children
Are you in a shared custody agreement with your former spouse, who has the children the majority of the time? Would you like to gain more custody of your kids? The good news is that it is possible to modify custody agreements even after a divorce is final. However, divorce court judges are usually reluctant to change the status quo, so it's important that you show them good reason why the agreement should be changed. That may require you to make some changes in your own life. Here are three steps you can take to prepare yourself for a custody modification and improve of your odds of winning more time with your kids:
Talk to your ex-spouse. The easiest way to get a modification approved is if both you and the other spouse agree to the change. If both spouses are in agreement, a judge will often feel much more comfortable overturning an existing agreement than if you and your ex are battling it out in court. Talk to your former spouse either in person or over the phone and express your desire to spend more time with the children. Ask him or her what misgivings they may have and what you can do to address those misgivings.
You may find that your ex-spouse would appreciate you spending more time with them. You may be able to start small, such as with taking the kids to extracurricular activities or helping with babysitting. Then you could work up to modifying the actual agreement. Be patient and understanding of their concerns. And remember that the road to more custody will be much easier with the other parent's cooperation.
Get current on all obligations. No judge is likely to approve a modification if you're behind on child support or if you're currently not fulfilling all of your allotted custody. If either of those is the case, spend some time working on your parental duties before you request the modification. Get current on child support, alimony, and any other financial obligations. Make sure you're spending quality time with your children during your custody periods. Take advantage of opportunities to see and support your child outside of your custody, such as at his or her sporting events or school performances. The better parent you are, the better chance you have.
Improve your living situation. Stability is one of the biggest things judges look at in any custody case. One of the reasons you didn't get more custody in the first place may have been that your living situation wasn't ideal. Maybe you were living with a friend after your divorce until you got back on your feet. While that may have helped you financially, that may not be satisfactory in the eyes of a judge.
Look for a place that has enough room for everyone. Also, if you can get in the child's school district and stay close to family and friends, that will also help. Remember, the judge is looking for as little disruption as possible in the child's life.
For more information, talk to a divorce attorney. He or she can help you determine the best path to get more custody with your kids.