One of the hardest things about being a dad is how people just don’t respect fathers the same way they do mothers. Involved fathers who want to spend a lot of time with their children can find themselves fighting an uphill battle during divorce because of the social expectations about who spends more time with the children or has a closer bond with them.
You shouldn’t have to lose out on time with your children just because you’re a father and not a mother. Sometimes, the Indiana family courts enter a custody ruling that doesn’t really reflect a family’s unique needs or circumstances. When that happens, parents can go back and ask the court to update or modify the custody order.
How does the modification process work?
The courts establish custody through court orders, which means that parents can’t make informal changes to the custody order without incurring certain risks. Even if you and your ex agree on something, they can still ask for enforcement of the original order, leaving you in a vulnerable position.
A formal modification gives you an opportunity to go to the courts and present them with evidence about how the current custody arrangements don’t meet your family’s needs. When you file a hearing request, your ex has a chance to respond. They can contest your filing and claim that they don’t agree with the changes. If they can agree, it will lead to a much faster, uncontested filing.
If they choose to fight you, you will have a hearing much like you did during the divorce and have an opportunity to testify and present evidence to the judge hearing your request. If the judge sees merit in your request, they might change the custody order so that you have more time with your children, which is the whole reason for starting this process.
How do you prepare for a modification hearing?
As with any other custody proceeding, a modification hearing will involve a careful review of your family circumstances. Changes, like a more custody-friendly work schedule, could bolster your request, as could evidence of efforts addressing concerns when the court issues their initial custody order.
A more permanent place to live, a few months to process your emotions after the divorce or even attending therapy could also strengthen your case and show the court how committed you are to being actively present in the lives of your children.