Divorcing is often a protracted and frustrating process. It can take months for a divorce to move through the courts. When it's all finished and you have a parenting plan and custody order in place, you may feel like the last place you ever want to be is inside a courtroom again. No matter how stressful the process may have been, it's important that you understand that the terms of your divorce are not set in stone.
Generally speaking, the process of asset division ends with the court order dividing your marital property. In some cases, such as intentionally hidden assets, however, the courts may revisit the terms of your divorce in the future. Child custody, on the other hand, is much more flexible. Situations for either parent can change quickly, requiring that you revisit the terms of your custody order.
Modifications, like custody, focus on the needs of the children
The Ohio family courts will always act in the best interests of the children in any divorce. They will consider the needs of the children before those of the parents when creating the initial custody order. The same is true of any request for a modification to the terms of the custody or visitation order. Protecting the children involved is the most important consideration.
Knowing this can help you frame your modification request in a better way. Instead of focusing on how the current terms are unfair to you, you can focus on how they could cause damage to the children by impacting your relationship with them. In most cases, the courts will do everything they can to ensure both parents have an active and positive ongoing relationship with the children.
If your ex denies your parenting time or visitation with your children, that could be grounds for a seeking a modification. Barring situations such as child abuse neglect or substance abuse, the courts will typically frown on one parent withholding parenting time or otherwise seeking to damage the relationship between the other parent and the children.
Modification takes time, but it can benefit everyone
Like your initial divorce, a child custody modification requires the filing of motions and an appearance in court to plead your case. Even after filing the request, it could be several weeks or months before your actual court date.
While you may feel frustrated with your current situation, try to stay as focused on your children as a possible during this time. Regardless of the delays, advocating for your parental rights and trying your best to be an active part of your children's lives is a good move.