Attorney, Cordell & Cordell
Once you have taken action to set a modification into motion, how will you show that changes you are alleging have taken place? What evidence do you need?
One continuing change that is often difficult to show is that the child has been spending a substantial amount of time with you when the parenting plan states they should be with their other parent.
While you are more than happy to have this additional time, it also comes with the financial burden of feeding and caring for your child during this time. Further, your child is becoming accustomed to spending this additional time with you and you want to protect your ability to exercise this time.
The best way to document this is through a calendar specifically dedicated to custody or visitation time. When you can bring this into your attorney’s office and show a history of parenting time, you have already begun laying the groundwork for a successful modification. In addition, keeping receipts from things you did during these periods of time may help to bolster your calendar’s credibility.
Another way to show your additional involvement in your child’s life is to have third-party witnesses who can testify on your behalf. This will come naturally from being involved in your child’s activities.
Talking to other parents at their sporting events, attending parent teacher conferences, knowing the parents of your child’s friends, etc., will create witnesses who will be able to support you in court. Also, take pictures when you are with your child. Not only are you making memories, but you’re also making a record of your interactions with your child.
You may be asking: how will I know if my ex is out partying or has changed her life for the worse? While you should be very cautious of social networking in your divorce, social media sites are a great place to find evidence of changes in your ex’s life. I am not advocating visiting your ex’s Facebook page daily to hope for a picture of her holding a beer, unless you’re looking for a surefire way to drive yourself insane.
If you have suspicions, though, either from what your child or other people have told you, social networking sites are a good place to begin your search. Be aware of local and national laws regarding how you are able to obtain information from the Internet and other electronic sources.
If you had an addiction that limited your parenting time at the time of your original decree, having support group logs showing you sought and received help to overcome your addiction will be vital to a modification of your custody or visitation arrangement.
Similarly if you had a physical or mental limitation at the time your current divorce decree was ordered, medical records of your progress will be helpful to show the substantial and continuing change necessary for the court to modify your decree.
While this article addresses some of the issues that arise when preparing for a modification proceeding, you may have additional questions regarding your own specific situation. You should contact an attorney in your area immediately if you need additional information or legal representation, as most parties in modification actions do.
Cordell & Cordell has men’s divorce lawyers located nationwide.
Read all the parts of this series on divorce modification:
- Reasons for Modification
- How to Act Before Your Modification
- Evidence Needed for Modification
- How Moving Affects Modification
William Halaz is a Staff Attorney in the Arnold, Missouri office of Cordell & Cordell, P.C. Mr. Halaz is licensed to practice in the state of Missouri. Mr. Halaz received his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Southeast Missouri State University. Then continuing his education, received his Juris Doctor from St. Louis University’s School of Law.