After the Court makes an order for parenting time, it’s possible for your situation to change. You might get a new job with hours that overlap with your parenting time. Or your child could start a new after-school activity that happens during your parenting time. If there is a change like this that creates a problem with your old parenting time schedule, you can ask the Court to change it.
If you and the other parent do not agree on the parenting time change, you may want to consider speaking with a lawyer. Click on "Legal Help and Lawyers" below to see your options for finding a lawyer in Montgomery County.
Requirements for a parenting time change
To get a parenting time order changed, you must show the Court that:
- The existing schedule is no longer in the child’s best interest, AND
- A different schedule will meet the child’s best interest.
The Court is required to consider several factors when considering parenting time changes, including:
- The distance between each parent’s residence.
- The health and safety of the child.
- The amount of time the child will spend with siblings.
- The mental and physical health of all parties.
- Each parent’s willingness to reschedule missed visitation and to help the other parent easily exercise visitation rights.
- The age of the child.
- The child’s adjustment to home, school and the community.
How to start a parenting time change
To start a parenting time change, you have to file a motion with the Court. Go to the Motion for Change in Parenting Time page to find the forms you need. Explain your proposed changes and why they meet the requirements above.
If you are requesting a parenting time change because one parent is moving, your motion must include where that parent is moving.
Use the Court's standard forms to enter the information you need to include in your motion. You also can find the information in the Local Rules of Court (Rule 4.41(D)).
Follow these steps to file your forms with the Court:
- After you complete your forms, you will need to sign your documents in front of a notary. You can find a notary by searching on your browser for “a notary near me.” You can also wait to sign your papers until you get to the Court. The Court has staff who can notarize your forms for you.
- Drop off your completed, signed and notarized forms at the Court’s Compliance Office in Room 261.
- The Compliance Office will contact you after their review is complete. They will tell you if you need to make changes to your forms. Note: They usually contact you by phone, so make sure they have your correct phone number. If you need to make edits to your forms, they may ask you to come in to make the changes or may send you a letter describing the changes you need to make.
- If you need to make edits to your forms, read the letter from Compliance carefully and make the requested changes. Compliance allows you to make the edits directly on to the printed document by using white out and writing in blue ink the updated response or filling in ink a missing response. Do not cross out anything already on your forms, you must use white out to make corrections.
- After you make your changes, drop off your forms for review at the Compliance Office in Room 261 in the Courthouse. If you need to resign and notarize your forms, the Court has staff who can notarize your forms for you.
- Once your forms are approved for filing, you will get a call from the Compliance Office. Your forms will be available for pick up in the “pick up” bin at the Compliance Office.
- If you have questions, you can contact the Compliance Office at (937) 225-4782.
- Take your forms to the Clerk of Court’s Office. The Clerk of Court’s Office is located on the first floor in Room 104 of the Common Pleas Court Building, at 41 N. Perry Street. The Domestic Relations Court is connected to the Common Pleas Court Building through an indoor walkway, so you do not need to walk outside to get to the Clerk of Court’s Office.
- Give the clerk your forms and pay the filing fee (unless you have included a Poverty Affidavit / Fee Waiver with your forms). The filing fee is $200.
- Complete service. You must serve papers to the other parent. Follow up with the Clerk of Court's office after about 10 business days to make sure that service has been completed.
- Attend the hearing. Once the other parent is served, the Court will schedule a hearing. You must attend the hearing.
Pay attention to communications from the Court
After you file with the Court and service is complete, the Court will schedule a hearing. Make sure to check your mail and respond promptly to any letters sent to you by the Court. You must go to any hearing or meeting the Court schedules. If you don't attend, the Court may hold an uncontested hearing or dismiss your motion.
At the hearing
At the hearing, you will need to explain to the judge or magistrate:
- What has changed since the current schedule was issued;
- Why that change interferes with the current schedule; and,
- How the change would meet the child’s best interests.
If you and the other parent agree, you can both testify that you agree and why.
If you and the other parent don’t agree, you will need to present evidence to show that it is in the child’s best interest to change the parenting time schedule, like:
- Documentation of the physical and mental health of children and/or adults;
- Documentation of the child's extracurricular activities and how they will be affected by the current and proposed plans;
- Pictures showing that the proposed visitation location is appropriate for the child;
- Pictures of interactions with family members;
- Google map directions to show the travel time for visitation;
- Witnesses who will testify on your behalf about what they have personally seen or heard;
- You can testify on your own behalf.
The Court will look at this evidence to determine the best interests of the child. Present your evidence to show that the change in custody meets the legal requirement of "best interests of the child."
Your child will not be allowed in the courtroom during the hearing. Make sure that you arrange for childcare in advance.
Changes in parenting time can have a huge impact on your child and your family. If you’re trying to have your parenting time order changed, consider getting a lawyer.