Sometimes, you aren’t in a position during a divorce to really step up as a parent. Perhaps you weren’t expecting the divorce, so you don’t have a stable living environment. Perhaps your spouse filed for divorce because you have health issues or have developed an addiction.
When you initially divorce, the judge presiding over the case will have to make decisions about custody based on what they think would be best for the children. When you show signs of noteworthy instability or present some kind of danger to the children, a judge might significantly limit how much time you have with them.
When can you potentially go back to court to ask for more parenting time?
When you have addressed your problematic situation
Did you eventually recover from your shock and depression about the divorce and get around to finding a better place to live? Did you resolve your legal issues, go to therapy or complete rehabilitation so that you could overcome your addiction or health issues?
When your uneven custody arrangements are the result of a problem in your personal life, addressing that problem can make it easier for you to convince a judge that you feel deeply committed to spending more time with your children and that you are a dedicated, loving parent.
When your ex has unfairly denied you even your limited parenting time
Even parents struggling with personal problems still love and show up for their children. When the court awards you some parenting time or visitation, your ex must comply with that order and give you access to the children.
If they withhold your parenting time, keeping a record of those denied visits could give you a very strong case to request a Virginia custody modification. The state custody modification law specifically references the interference of one parent with the parenting time of the other. When your ex won’t let you spend your court-ordered time with the children, the courts might decide to increase how much parenting time you have, especially if you can show you’ve addressed their past concerns.
Technically, parents can request a modification to an existing custody order anytime their situation or their child’s circumstances undergo a significant change. Evaluating your situation to see if you have grounds for a modification request could help you spend more time with your kids.