What Co-Parents Should Know Before Requesting a Custody Order Modification

One of the most challenging aspects of a family law case such as divorce is child custody. This is because many parents have to fight it out in court or via mediation to get parenting rights. Unfortunately, some parents delegate childcare responsibility to a nanny during their custodial time. Often, it frustrates the other co-parent, especially if they are available to take care of the kids during these times. If you feel that your ex-partner is deferring most of the child care to third parties, then you should think about modifying the custody order in your favour. Here is what you need to know about modifying child custody where nannies are involved.

Final Judicial Determination -- The burden of proof required to modify a custody order depends on whether the request is filed before or after the final judicial determination. If a parent files the request before the final custody trial, they are only required to show that the adjustment is in the child's best interest. For instance, if your ex delegates a lot of their care responsibility to a nanny, that is typically enough to show that it is in the child's best interest to stay with you. Conversely, if you file a custody modification request after a judicial determination, you need to go further than just showing the child's best interest. You must prove that child care circumstances have changed significantly since the delivery of the custody order. For instance, if your ex-partner delegates their childcare responsibility to a nanny even during their free time, the courts are more likely to consider your request.

Right of first refusal -- A joint legal custody order typically entails numerous complaints from one or both parents if a third-party caregiver is involved. The reason is that both parents have equal rights in as far as a child's interests go. However, most parents do not read the fine print in these orders and might miss the right of first refusal clause. The right of first refusal in a custody order means that either parent should be given a chance to take care of a child before turning to a nanny. Therefore, if your ex is too busy and thinks about getting a nanny for your child, you can exercise your right of first refusal, especially if you have the time to offer care.

Sharing a Nanny -- It is not unusual for co-parents to hire two different nannies to take care of a child at their respective homes. However, agreeing on separate nannies is usually problematic, even in amicable or mediated divorces. A better strategy for co-parents is to hire one nanny who is comfortable working in both homes. This way, both parents know what to expect from the nanny, and the child lives a less disrupted life whenever they are at their respective parents' home. Moreover, it prevents the need to modify a custody order.

Contact a family law firm to learn more.