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Rombro & Manley LLP

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Top ways to defend against a motion to modify custody

On Behalf of | Nov 20, 2023 | Family Law

With a moment’s notice, you can suddenly find yourself facing the prospect of a child custody modification. This motion, filed by your child’s other parent, can threaten your child’s stability and your time and relationship with your kid. In other words, there’s a lot at stake when a custody modification is filed in your divorce or paternity case, which is why you need to be prepared to argue against it.

Building a response in these matters can be difficult to do from an evidentiary and an emotional point-of-view. After all, the other parent is probably going to levy allegations against you that paint you in a horrible light. As difficult as it can be to face the situation, you can’t let your child’s other parent take control of your custody case.

Ways to defend against a child custody modification request

When your child’s other parent files a motion to modify custody, they’re going to argue that there’s been a material change in circumstances. To support that claim, they’re going to make specific accusations that attack your parenting abilities. To fight back against those allegations, you need to be prepared to do the following:

  • Present contradictory witness testimony: The motion to modify will likely be supported by statements and observations made by the other parent as well as friends, family members, or professionals. You need to be able to counter those assertions with your own testimonial evidence. While you can try to set the record straight with your own testimony, you’ll want support from other witnesses, too, whether they be friends, family members, school personnel, or mental health professionals.
  • Downplay written communications: If you’ve gotten into heated spats with your child’s other parent, then you should be prepared for any damaging text messages and emails to come to light. These communications might be taken out of context, so you’ll want to develop a strategy to minimize their impact on the court’s perception of your parenting abilities.
  • Address harmful documentary evidence: Photographs, police reports, and social media posts can all be used to damage your position in a child custody dispute. You’ll want to either find a way to explain those problematic documents or reduce the impact they have on your case. You’ll want to keep track of any steps that you’ve taken since the creation of the record to improve yourself.
  • Be honest: You always have to be honest with the court, but being straightforward and blunt about any issues that you’ve faced can buy respect, especially if you’ve sought help to remedy whatever issue has been brought to light. If you’re going to take that route, just make sure you can show significant improvement in whatever issue it is that’s come out.

Remember, when you’re facing a child custody dispute, the focus should always be centered on your child’s best interests. So, as you prepare to counter a motion to modify, you need to think about how you can frame your arguments from a perspective that demonstrates that the existing custody order is best suited to protect your child’s safety and well-being.

Craft the persuasive child custody arguments your child needs

With so much at stake in your child custody dispute, you can’t simply walk into court and expect to get the results you want. Instead, you’re going to have to be prepared and calculated, gathering as much evidence as you can to support your position. It also helps to find ways to attack the other parent’s evidence from a legal perspective, such as when it’s been improperly authenticated, contains hearsay, or is unreliable.

By doing these things, you’ll hopefully better position yourself for the outcome that your child deserves. Good luck with your case and be sure to reach out for any help that you might need along the way.