WHEN CAN I CHANGE AN EXISTING PARENTING TIME ORDER?
Arizona law imposes limits that only allow changes to a parenting plan if it has been more than one year since the Court entered the previous order (except in emergency cases where the child is at risk of harm).
The State of Arizona understands that it is not realistic to expect a parenting time order to continue to fit the family’s needs throughout the entirety of childhood. Relationships change, finances change and children change as they grow. All of these factors are considered when a parent wants to modify an existing parenting time order.
Realistically, most families may need to re-visit their parenting plan (in whole or in part) every few years.
The parent who is seeking to modify the existing court ordered parenting plan has the burden to prove that there has been a significant change in circumstances and that modifying the existing parenting time order to what that parent is proposing is in the best interest of the child.
A Judge will consider a parent’s request for a change to an existing parenting order only if there has been a significant change in circumstances and the resulting change is in the best interests of the child.
Of course these two factors are subject to many interpretations and, as a result, if the parents cannot reach an agreement, litigation ensues.
In Court, the Judge will review evidence presented from both sides and determine if the change is warranted focusing on numerous factors, but ultimately the decision is made based on whether the change is truly in the best interest of the child (not the parent proposing the change).
The number of types of requested changes to an existing parenting time order are as many as there are different types of families.
Each family is unique and the evidence to support the requested change or changes must be presented to the Court and reviewed in the context of that particular, unique family. That is where a skilled Attorney comes in.
If you find that it is time for a change and you would like to work with one of our experienced Attorneys, please call OWENS & PERKINS at(480) 630-2464 to schedule your free 30 minute consultation.