Many people aren’t in a particularly great place during their divorce. They may still struggle to live within their new budget. They may find themselves in temporary housing. Some people also go through intense depression and have trouble taking care of themselves, let alone their kids, during and after a divorce. 

The custody decisions that the court reaches during a divorce will reflect the circumstances you present during those proceedings. If your living situation is unstable, if you struggle with your mental health at the time of the divorce or if there are other major issues in your life, the courts might limit how much parenting time you have. 

The good news is that when your life circumstances improved, you can go back to the court and ask them to give you more time with your kids.

The courts can formally modify your custody order

Some people will attempt to get more parenting time by asking for it from their former spouse. Although that can work in certain circumstances, it will leave you at the mercy of your ex, who can stop permitting the extra parenting time or even report a parental kidnapping during undocumented but verbally agreed-upon visitation. 

Seeking a formal modification through the Pennsylvania family courts will help ensure that you have the legal right to be with your kids for that extra time. You have the right as a parent to request a modification hearing provided that your circumstances have changed since the divorce record.

As with the initial order, modifications focus on the kids

For most families, it is in the best interests of the children that they spend plenty of time with each of their parents. That will be the primary reason for the courts to consider giving you more parenting time, not simply your desire to see the kids more frequently. 

Any custody determination must focus on what will benefit the kids, not necessarily on what the parents want. Keeping that in mind as you strategize for your modification hearing with your attorney can make it easier to present a compelling case to the court.