Child Custody Modification: Chances Of Success

advice on divorceQuestion:

I would like to know my chances for success with an upcoming child custody modification proceeding.

In our divorce decree, I am supposed to have parenting time every other weekend and one day a week for 8 hours. But for the past 5 years I have had my daughter four days a week due to work schedules, etc.

Is this a good foundation to request I be deemed the custodial parent since I have more parenting time with my child than my ex-wife, who is technically supposed to be the primary caregiver?

Answer:

This answer only includes general divorce help for men since I am only licensed to practice in Oklahoma and am thus unable to provide any advice on child custody laws in your state.

It sure sounds like you’re presenting a good case for a modification of your divorce decree with regard to child custody, visitation, and child support. A modification will allow you to change the terms of the decree.

In most states, a modification is based on the legal standard that a “material and substantial change” has occurred with regard to how you exercise visitation and custody, or in either your or your ex-wife’s income.

If you were awarded one day a week for six hours and every other weekend in the decree, but you and your ex-wife have new child custody agreements where you exercise substantially more parenting time, then you have a strong argument that a material and substantial change has occurred.

Additionally, an increase in the number of days and nights you have your daughter can significantly change the calculation of child support. Also of note, any change in your or your ex-wife’s income can constitute a material and substantial change. These are all important factors in evaluating and approaching a modification.

From what I can gather, you have a strong foundation for requesting these changes.  I would strongly recommend you seek the advice of an attorney as you move forward.

Please understand that my opinions are based upon the limited facts that you provided to me. For a more in depth discussion of fathers rights and legal advice on divorce, I urge you to contact a family law attorney.

To set up an appointment with a Cordell & Cordell mens divorce attorney, including Christian D. Barnard, an Associate Attorney in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, office, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

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