Parents who decide to live separately often spend considerable time developing a parenting plan that allows both parents to maintain their relationship with the children. However, needs and circumstances change over time, and the original plan might eventually require revision.
Parents can modify their parenting time orders or agreements to suit current circumstances with guidance from an experienced parenting time lawyer. An Ottawa parenting time modification lawyer like Paul Riley could explain the process and help a couple craft a new agreement that meets their needs.
When parents concur about a change in a parenting time arrangement, the Children’s Law Reform Act s. 19.1 allows you to vary it. You could revise your plan yourselves or work with a mediator or other professional to form a new plan. You then would file the new agreement with the court for approval.
A judge will assess whether the new agreement serves the best interests of the children. In making that determination, the court will consider the needs and circumstances of the specific child. The judge typically will approve the modified parenting time plan if it provides the children with physical and emotional safety and the opportunity to have meaningful connections with both their parents.
In some cases, a judge might not be convinced a change that you agreed upon serves your children’s best interests. The judge might seek more information or schedule a hearing to question you and your co-parent in person. If necessary, a custody revision lawyer in Ottawa could help you prepare for such a hearing.
When parents disagree about the need to modify a parenting time order, the parent who desires the change could file a motion to vary. The parent requesting the change, called the moving party, must file several documents with the court to initiate the process.
One of the most important documents is an affidavit explaining why you are requesting the change. It is critical that the affidavit make clear that the requested change is necessary because of a significant change in circumstances and serves the children’s best interests.
In addition, many courts require a moving party to submit a factum, which is a document stating the law the moving party relies on that supports the request to vary the parenting time agreement. A skilled lawyer in Ottawa could assist in completing these vital documents, helping to ensure they make a persuasive argument for the court to consider the adjustment to the parenting time agreement.
The law favours maintaining the parenting time arrangement a court approved because it wants people to be able to rely on court orders. However, courts recognize that situations change, and revisions to parenting arrangements are sometimes necessary. Situations that merit a change to a parenting time plan include:
In general, courts expect parents to tolerate a degree of inconvenience or expense for the privilege of spending time with their children, but every situation is different. A diligent legal professional in Ottawa could help you craft your justification for the desired parenting time change emphasizing how the proposed change will benefit the children.
If your parenting time agreement no longer works well for your children, processes exist to change it.
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