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Call for a free consultation with an attorney  903-357-5269

Four tips for defending against a child custody modification

On Behalf of | Dec 20, 2023 | Family Law

Despite the bond and the relationship that you have with your child, their other parent might take action to try to restrict your access and limit your contact with your child. This will take the form of a child custody modification request, which will be filed with the court. To succeed on this motion, the other parent will have to demonstrate that there’s been a material and substantial change in circumstances, and that the requested modification is in the child’s best interests.

But what constitutes a material and substantial change in circumstances? It’s an all-encompassing analysis, but common changes include substance abuse, financial instability, untreated mental health conditions, the onset of a serious medical condition, exposure to domestic violence, and abuse or neglect.

How can you defend against a child custody modification request?

You can’t expect your own statements alone to carry the day when you’re facing a child custody modification request. After all, the other parent is probably going to come into court with significant evidence that you need to be prepared to rebut. Here are some tips that might help you defend the existing child custody order in your case:

  1. Present contradictory evidence: Even if the evidence presented by the other parent seems severely damaging, there might be ways to contradict it. Testimony from your own witnesses can be helpful here, but don’t forget that documentary evidence, such as school and medical records, can support your position, too.
  2. Minimize the evidence: The other parent is going to try to make the issue at hand as blown out of proportion as possible so that they can convince the judge to grant the modification requestion. You need to ensure that the evidence is kept in context so that you can minimize any harmful evidence as much as possible. For example, you might be able to demonstrate that any unsavory behavior was conducted at a time when your child wasn’t in your care and that it has no impact on your ability to safely provide for your child.
  3. Mount a counter-offensive: Although the modification request is going to put your parenting abilities under the microscope, you might be able to turn the tables and raise issues with the other parent. If you’re able to successfully do this, then the court will be hesitant to grant a modification that gives the other parent more time with the child.
  4. Refocus on the child’s best interests: All too often, custody modification requests are more about hurting one of the parents than they are about doing what’s best for the child. When you’re facing a custody modification request, you need to think through how to frame your arguments considering your child’s best interests, given that’s the standard that rules in these matters. That’s a broad analysis, so you have a lot of room to work with there.

Don’t get taken advantage of in your child custody dispute

The outcome of a child custody dispute can have long-lasting ramifications for you, your child, and your relationship with your child. That’s why you can’t just show up to court hoping for the best outcome. Instead, you need to be prepared to advocate for your child’s interests, making sure to gather and present the strongest evidence available.

If the thought of building and advocating your child custody case has you nervous, don’t worry. You can find guidance for every step of the process if that’s what you choose to do. You just need to think through what you need to successfully defend the custody arrangement that you think is right.