How Do I Get More Time with My Children?

Can I get More Time with My Children?

We often hear from parents who are unhappy with their current parenting plan and want to have more time with their children. While the standard you have to meet for modifying a parenting plan is a tough one, there are several options to consider:

Two parents can agree to modify a parenting plan at any time. Generally all that is needed is to draft the new parenting plan, have both parties sign it, and take it in to have the court sign off on it (called “entering” the new parenting plan).

It is also often possible to bring an action to have a parenting plan changed to reflect the schedule the parents are actually following (many parents unofficially change the schedule over time to fit their circumstances).

There is also an exception for a motion to adjust the schedule by not more than 24 days per year (2 days per month). Even such a minor plan adjustment still requires showing a substantial change of circumstances and that the change is needed to serve the best interests of the children.

However, in order to substantially modify a parenting plan to something that is neither agreed nor reflects current practice, and changes the schedule for more than 24 days per year,  you basically need to show that the children are being harmed in some way by the current parenting arrangement. It is not enough to be simply saying “I want a different plan”, or even that the children want a different plan.

If the other parent is willing to discuss making some changes to the parenting plan, it may be a good idea to work with a professional mediator. Your parenting plan may even require it.

Discussions about children can be very touchy for many parents, and even what starts out well can be easily derailed by a single comment, by pushing too hard, or a perceived lack of respect. Professional mediators are skilled at helping tough negotiations move forward.