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When can a Pennsylvania parent get more time with their children?

On Behalf of | Feb 10, 2024 | Child Custody |

One of the hardest aspects of sharing custody is the need to give up time with one’s children. Parents subject to a Pennsylvania shared custody order often miss certain experiences with their children. They may alternate holidays with the other parent and may only spend a certain percentage of the week with their children.

It can be very difficult for a parent to accept reduced access to and time with their children. Usually, the terms established in a custody order are the result of negotiations between the parents or a reflection of what the judge believes is in the best interests of the children. Sometimes, a parent with less time can go back to court to increase their parenting time allocation. What situations may justify requesting a modification that grants one parent more time with the children?

An improvement in circumstances

Often, litigated custody orders that limit one parent’s time with the children are the product of unusual circumstances. There may be evidence of abuse, neglect or medical issues that prevent someone from being the actively-involved parent that their children require. If someone undergoes substance abuse treatment or finally obtains their own rental home after living on a friend’s couch for months, their improved personal circumstances could justify a request for a Pennsylvania custody modification.

Changes in someone’s schedule

Occasionally, the reason that one parent has less time with their children than the other parent in the family is that they have a restrictive schedule. Maybe they work incredibly long and irregular shifts as a medical professional or frequently travel out of the state for a corporate sales career. If a parent changes or stabilizes their schedule, they may be able to commit to showing up for their children more regularly. Proof of changes to someone’s employment or daily schedule might convince the courts to change their allocation of parenting time as well.

Unsafe circumstances at the other home

Another reason why one parent might ask for more parenting time is because they worry that the children are in an unsafe or unhealthy environment when they stay with the other parent. If there is evidence of abuse, neglect or substance abuse issues affecting the parental abilities of the other adult in the family, then a parent could go back to the family courts and ask for more time with their children.

Custody modifications are possible in numerous different scenarios. So long as a parent agrees on modification terms with their co-parent – or they can prove that there has been a substantial change in circumstances and that the modifications they request are in the best interests of their children – judges might agree to grant them more time with the children and possibly more authority over their lives as well.