What Constitutes the Basis for a Modification of Legal Decision Making or Parenting Time Order?

Child custody cases can be complicated and riddled with emotion between divorcees. When the situation between parents changes, or when a child’s needs change, sometimes the court will enter new orders that are in the best interests of the child under these changed circumstances.

What is a Petition for Modification?

A Petition for Modification is a common submission to the court after an original order pertaining to a legal decision-making and parenting time.

For the court to be able to move forward on a request for modification, one or more party must file a petition to modify that sets forth a substantial and continuing change of circumstances. The courts will then determine whether such a change exists and, if it does, what orders best accommodate those changes in the best interests of the child.

Legal Decision Making

Legal decision making was formerly known as “child custody” or “legal custody.” It is defined as the right to make significant, non-emergency decisions for the welfare of a child. This involves decisions regarding education, health care, personal care, and religious matters.

During and after the entry of an initial order, the issue of legal decision making might be disputed between parents. In the state of Arizona, parents may be assigned sole or joint legal decision making authority, with joint being by far more common.

A Petition to Modify legal decision-making might be appropriate under several circumstances, examples of which include safety issues pertaining to one of the parents, such as domestic violence, child abuse, criminal, or drug allegations.

Parenting Time and Child Support

Parenting Time is the schedule of when each parent has the care of the child.  It was previously known as visitation.  A modification of parenting time might be appropriate if there is a safety issue, as noted above, or where there is a logistical issue like a change in a parent’s availability for parenting time because of a change of job schedule, or a distant move.

Because of the intricacies involved in changing legal decision-making and parenting time orders, it is wise to consult with a family law attorney if you are considering requesting such a change or if you have been served with a request for a change by the other party.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Modification of Legal Decision Making or Parenting Time, or other family law issues, please feel free to contact Barry C. Dickerson at 480.461.5300, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools, and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.