Finding the right arrangement for sharing custody with your former spouse isn't always easy in Massachusetts. When work schedules change, you or your spouse moves to a new location, or your child's after-school activities change, you may need to renegotiate how your time with your child is shared. While Massachusetts courts consider applications to modify custody, these applications are not easily granted.
Read on to learn about mistakes parents often make when seeking a modification of their child custody arrangement.
1- You haven't presented a substantial change of circumstances.
Massachusetts courts issue child custody sharing arrangements only after giving these arrangements careful consideration, possibly holding a hearing on the arrangements where each parent may present evidence to support their arguments. After all this careful consideration, courts aren't quick to unwind these custody agreements. Family courts in Massachusetts will require you to present a substantial change in circumstances from when the agreement was first established. Courts are not likely to grant such motions when no major changes have occurred but the existing agreement is undesirable for you, or for reasons such as you disliking your spouse's new live-in partner, if that partner poses no threat to your child's safety.
2. You haven't followed the terms of the existing child support arrangement.
Massachusetts courts will be less likely to entertain requests for changes if you haven't been careful to abide by the existing arrangement. For example, a court will be unlikely to grant more parenting time to a parent who is habitually late to exchange custody, or to a parent who is behind on child support payments.
3. You're using your custodial battle as a weapon against your ex.
Divorce isn't always what both spouses want. Some spouses use ongoing litigation as a way to maintain contact with their ex, either in an attempt to rekindle the relationship or to seek revenge for the hurt they suffered. Your children don't deserve to have their stability and routine in a constant state of flux while caught in the middle of a battle between you and your ex. Additionally, family court judges are perceptive to these ulterior motives for seeking modified custodial arrangements. Such applications could cause you to lose credibility with your judge.
If you need assistance in a family law matter before the Massachusetts Probate and Court, contact the compassionate and seasoned divorce and custody lawyer Renee Lazar for a FREE one hour no obligation consultation, at 978-844-4095.