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Franklin Divorce Attorney > Blog > Child Custody > Top Ways to Defend Against a Custody Modification Request

Top Ways to Defend Against a Custody Modification Request


The thought of your child’s other parent attempting to change the current custody or visitation schedule may be totally overwhelming. Settling custody disputes is often the most contentious aspect of any split, and it is often a huge relief when that hurdle is in the rear-view mirror. So what happens when, again, your life and your child’s life is subject to a potential huge change? You have just gotten back to normal; your child is thriving – do you really have to entertain, or contend with, a child custody or visitation modification request?

Like so many items in the law: it depends. This article will briefly go over what to expect from these custody or visitation modification requests, and different strategies for defending against them.

Why the Change?

Just about everything in life is subject to change. This includes your child custody and visitation agreement. Above all else, the Tennessee courts endeavor to act in a child’s best interest. And the child’s best interest might be served differently five years down the road from the time the original custody and visitation order was ruled upon. Because of this, custody and visitation order may be changed – but specific parameters must be met.

Material Change

For a court-ordered child custody or visitation order to be changed, the court must find that a material change in circumstances has occurred. The court will not entertain changing their order simply because a parent wants them to reconsider, without having compelling evidence as to what has changed and why this step is necessary.

For example, imagine that you, your ex, and your child have resided in Tennessee for 15 years. You and your ex share 60/40 physical custody and have for five years, with your ex retaining 60% custody.  Now, what if your ex receives military orders that they are to deploy next spring for two years to a country in the south pacific? In this scenario, it would absolutely make sense if either one of the parents filed for a custody and/or visitation modification order.

If, however, one parent simply reorganized their own personal life and schedules and found that they simply wanted to spend more time with the child, this would likely not be a convincing argument to the court.

Potential Defenses Against Custody Modification Requests

To succeed on a motion to modify an existing child custody or visitation agreement, your child’s other parent will first need to convince the court that there has been a material change necessitating the modification. So, the first best defense to the request would be to demonstrate that the other side cannot prove that any material change has occurred.

  • Speak with neighbors, friends, family members – present witnesses that support your position.
  • Can you provide your own evidence, to contradict your ex’s evidence or re-frame it into a better context?

Contact Fort, Holloway & Rogers

The outcome of a request for a child custody or visitation modification can hold life-long ramifications. Just as ripples in a pool, one action’s effect can reach out further, affecting everything down the line. Do not leave something as important as your relationship with your child up to chance. Advocate for yourself and your child’s best interests: engage with the experienced Franklin child custody lawyers at Fort, Holloway & Rogers to discuss your case today.




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