How Can I Get More Time With My Kids?
Being a parent requires a great deal of time and effort, especially when you feel your co-parenting agreement isn’t quite working out. When you want more parenting time with your children, it can sometimes be difficult to make that adjustment to the satisfaction of both parents and the court. If you want more visitation, but aren’t entirely sure how to get it, know that you do have legal options.
Talk to Your Co-Parent
The first thing you should try if you’d like to obtain more time with your kids, is to discuss the matter with their other parent. If the two of you are amicable, see if they would be open to meeting for coffee so the two of you can discuss your concerns and the reasons behind them. Try to remain open and keep your emotions in check. Negotiating time with your children can be emotional and frustrating because of the value you place on your relationship with them and your regard for their welfare. Remember that your ex is also thinking of those things and try to be compassionate in understanding their perspective. If you are respectful, you can only hope that they will respond in kind.
If you and your co-parent are not able to discuss things in person without arguing or fighting, it might be best to attempt a conversation via email. Email can be recorded for proof in court, if needed, and can help you both remain calm and ultimately communicate more effectively. And remember, don’t write anything in an email that you wouldn’t want shown to a judge.
Take advantage of any times your co-parent needs your help with your children—be available and reliable in a very apparent way. If you only have partial custody or limited visitation rights and are seeking something more involved, be as open as you can to taking your children when their other parent cannot.
Offer to drive them to after-school activities, or attend sports games, school functions, doctor appointments, and other daily activities. If you establish that you are a reliable parent and you have a desire to be involved, your co-parent may be more willing to adjust your schedule or modify your parenting plan to give you more time with the children. Also, spending more time with your children will strengthen the relationship you share with them. Not only is this better for you and your children on a personal level, it would also help you in court, if it comes to that.
Go to Mediation
Mediation may be a good option if you and your co-parent are unable to agree on a new custody schedule and could benefit from the help of an unbiased third party. In fact, in Oregon mediation is often the favorable choice in custody issues because it allows the parents to decide what is best for their children without anyone else’s interference.
Mediation is a sort of informal court, where both parents will be able to discuss their wishes for the new agreement, with assistance from the mediator, an unbiased third party. The benefit of mediation is that both sides must agree on the decision before it is finalized. If you go to court in Oregon, the judge will decide the custody agreement or parenting plan after hearing both sides, whereas in mediation you will have the final say.
Request a Modification in Court
If mediation is not an option, usually because both parents cannot decide on a custody or visitation arrangement, seeking a modification through the court may be the only other choice. To alter a standing custody agreement or parenting plan, a parent may file a motion requesting modification of the order. When a court accepts the modification, the current custody arrangement or parenting plan will be reviewed, and the newly proposed arrangement will be considered. The court may decide to stand by the existing custody order, or may adjust it according to the best interest of the children.
For parents who are unable to handle changes to their child custody arrangements themselves, please consider seeking an experienced family lawyer. At McKinley Irvin, our family law attorneys can provide legal counsel regarding your parental rights and are also qualified to mediate custody changes or represent your interests in court when necessary.To learn more about your parental rights and child custody modification options, contact McKinley Irvin in Oregon.