If someone tells you that they’ve never made a mistake as a parent, they’re lying to you. Every parent makes mistakes, because being a parent is hard. There is so much emotion that comes with being a parent—happiness, sadness, pride, disappointment, and guilt. This is all in addition to the other stressors, responsibilities, and traumas we experience. Predictably, there is a wide range of mistakes that we can make as parents as we try to balance it all.
Sometimes, we stumble as parents; and things line up at exactly the wrong time and results in the limitation or restriction of your access to your children. Before giving up, first repeat to yourself that to err is human. And part of what distinguishes our humanity is our desire to improve ourselves and to become better parents.
Custody and Visitation Modification Provides a Second Chance
So long as a parent’s parental rights has not been terminated, a parent can seek a modification of existing custody and visitation orders if they can demonstrate that there has been a substantial change in circumstances and that the requested change is in the child’s best interest. Courts have wide latitude as to what evidence they can consider in weighing these findings.
Family courts presume that it serves a child’s best interest to have ample visitation with both parents. For a court to have significantly restricted your visitation or access to you child means that the court was convinced that there was something improper in allowing you ample visitation with your child.
If your existing child custody and visitation order does this, your first step should be to speak with an attorney. An attorney can talk to you, look at the court’s file, and look at the court’s order to help you understand: (1) why the restriction occurred; and (2) what steps you can take to rehabilitate the issue in the eyes of the court. Understanding the reasons will give you a chance to genuinely reflect on how you got to this point and what you can do to move forward and pursue a healthier parent-child relationship.
There are positive steps that you can take to impress upon the court that you are willing and able to make the changes necessary to be a safe and appropriate parent. This may include counseling, parenting classes, rehabilitation, submitting to drug tests, submitting to a mental health evaluation, and/or obtaining stable housing and employment. In addition, if you are permitted visitation with your child—no matter how limited—make sure that you take advantage of these opportunities to spend with your child and make it a top priority in your life to attend every single visitation. If you can demonstrate a healthy commitment to your child, this will go a long way toward earning a second chance from the court.
New Direction Family Law
If you are seeking increased visitation with your child, you should contact an attorney. There are steps you can take to make real improvements in your life that will put you in a better position to succeed as a parent. Let us help you. New Direction Family Law is a family law firm that provides guidance and advocacy in child custody disputes. With years of experience, we know the law and will provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions. Contact New Direction Family Law at (919) 719-3470 to schedule an appointment or visit our website.
Sarah J. Hink
New Direction Family Law