When life circumstances change and your children grow older, your parenting plan may no longer fit the needs of your family. In Kansas, either parent can file a Motion to Modify Parenting Time. 

Read on to learn more about how the court decides whether to modify custody and visitation. 

Material change of circumstances 

The parent who has requested the change must demonstrate a material change in circumstances in which the current custody arrangement is no longer in the child’s best interest. This may include circumstances in the custodial home such as neglect, substance use and/or physical or emotional abuse. When the child becomes a teenager, the court may also consider his or her wishes to live with the other parent. 

If the child’s other parent routinely disregards the terms of your legal parenting plan, these actions could also constitute a material change of circumstances if he or she has limited your access to your child. In this case, document instances in which the other parent has prevented you from court-ordered visitation or contact. 

The modification process 

When you file a Motion to Modify Parenting Time with your local court clerk, you must include your new proposed parenting plan. Develop a detailed schedule for visitation that includes holidays, school vacations, extracurricular activities and other considerations. 

The child’s other parent and his or her attorney must receive a copy of these documents through certified U.S. mail along with a notice of the hearing date and time the court set. At the hearing, both parents will have the opportunity to present evidence to support their positions. After hearing from both sides, the judge will create a new legally binding custody order that reflects his or her decision or order the parents to continue following the existing custody order. 

Some Kansas courts may require mediation or alternative dispute resolution if you disagree with the child’s other parent about custody. In this case, a third party will help you negotiate with one another to reach an agreement.