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When courts will consider a modification petition

The holidays are supposed to bring out the best in people, but sometimes it may bring out the worst in them. Parents may not like what a child may experience with another parent during Christmas (whether it be a particular gift that was received, or a parent may have been late for an exchange). Whatever it may be, such disappointment may spark the desire to seek a modification to limit parenting time with the offending parent. 

Before filing a motion to modify, it is helpful to know what types of issues courts will review that will justify a change in the current decree. Essentially, courts generally will not interfere when disputes are over what types of gifts are given at Christmas (i.e. whether they are too expensive or whether the toy is better set for a boy or a girl).  Moreover, they are not likely to make a change in custody if a parent does not take a child to church for Christmas services.

However, family court judges are likely to intervene in situations where the child’s best interests are being threatened. These include circumstances such as when abuse is reported, when a parent has severe emotional issues that prevent him or her from tending to the child, or when substance abuse problems are unchecked.

The preceding should not be taken as legal advice or a predictor or whether your case will be successful or not. With that said, it is prudent to discuss your situation with an experienced family law attorney.

Source: HuffingtonPost.com, “Kate Winslet targeted by father’s rights group over parenting arrangement,” Cavan Sieczkowski, December 19, 2013

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