Modification of Parenting Time
A judge will consider a request to change parenting time only when there has been proper cause or a change in circumstances. In cases where changing parenting time would actually change custody, the moving party must have the same proof that is needed to change custody.
Proper cause or a change in circumstances must be significant for the judge to consider changing custody or parenting time in this situation. A change in circumstances must be something that happened after the last custody order was entered. To prove a change in circumstances, the moving party must show the judge that the change is more than just normal changes (good or bad) in the child’s life. The moving party must show the change has had or could have a significant effect on the child.
Proper cause must be related to at least one of the 12 best interest factors. It must have (or be likely to have) a significant effect on the child. Usually, events that amount to proper cause happen after entry of the last custody order. A change in circumstances is similar to proper cause. If something that happened after the judge signed the last custody order qualifies as a change in circumstances, it is usually also proper cause. The reverse is also true.
If the moving party cannot prove proper cause or a change in circumstances, the judge will not change parenting time. The current parenting time order will stay in place.
Changes to Parenting Time Conditions
Another kind of change to a parenting time order is to add, change, or remove a condition. Conditions of parenting time may require a parent to attend counseling, submit to drug tests, or pay all the transportation costs.
The moving party also has to show there has been a proper cause or change in circumstances. In this type of case, it is enough to show that the child’s best interests are not served by the current parenting time order.