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What to do when the other parent files for custody modification

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2024 | Family and Divorce Law

When a motion to modify custody is filed against you, seeking to limit your time with your child, you need to know how to effectively defend yourself.

If you improvise your arguments at your custody modification hearing, then you’ll be ill-prepared to counter the other parent’s arguments, which puts you at risk of falling on the losing end of your case.

You don’t want to be unjustly limited from having contact with your child. So, now is the time to get to work building your response to the other parent’s motion to modify custody.

But how do you do that? That can be a difficult question to grapple with, but there are legal strategies that you can deploy to effectively defend your position. Let’s look at some of them here.

Tips for aggressively defending against a child custody modification request

Even if the evidence appears to be stacked against you, there are tactics you can implement to give yourself a fighting chance of beating the modification request. Here are some of them:

  • Present evidence of your parenting abilities: In their motion to modify, the other parent is probably going to attack your parental fitness. They might argue that you have a substance use problem, that you’ve engaged in domestic violence in your child’s presence, or that you’ve caused emotional or psychological harm to your child. If you can present contradictory evidence and show that you and your child have a strong bond, then you can minimize or eliminate the weight of these arguments. So, talk to witnesses, gather documentation, and develop arguments that show that your parental fitness is the opposite of that portrayed by the other parent.
  • Diminish the reliability of the other parent’s testimony: The other parent is bound to testify against you. And they might present other witness testimony to support their position. If you can attack the credibility and reliability of these witnesses, perhaps by showing bias, motivation, or a history of untruthfulness, then you can diminish the power of their testimony.
  • Renew the focus on the child’s best interests: In a custody modification hearing, the other parent might get wrapped up in attacking your character. But the hearing should really be about what sort of custody arrangement is in your child’s best interests. So, you might be able to deflect some of the attacks against you by looking at how the proposed custody changes will negatively impact your child.
  • Addressing the other parent’s fitness: If there are legitimate safety concerns with the other parent spending more time with your child, then you should highlight them for the court. Just make sure that you’re linking the other parent’s behaviors and shortcomings to your child’s well-being. If you don’t, then the court might write them off as irrelevant to the custody determination before it.

There might be other strategies that you can implement in your custody case. Just make sure that you stay focused on your child’s best interests and gather sufficient evidence to support your position.

Don’t let the other parent take control of your custody case

If your child’s other parent is aggressive, then they might try to bully you into an agreement that’s against your child’s best interests, or they might unfairly attack you in hopes of securing the order they want. Don’t let them bulldoze you in your custody case.

Instead, enter the process armed with strong legal arguments targeted at protecting your child’s best interests. Hopefully then you can secure the best possible outcome for you and your child.