Prevent custody orders from being easily modified or appealed
There really is no statute of limitations on a child custody case….as long as the child remains a child, that is. The question of custody and visitation rights remains subject to change until the child turns 18. Of course, this can be a major problem for the parent who is happy with the current custody order. The other parent can petition the court at any time to modify the custody arrangement.
So what can you do? You can never totally prevent a parent from seeking a modification of custody when there is a real change in circumstances that justifies a new court order. After all, the court will always be concerned with what serves the best interest of the child, and that determination may change from time to time.
However, you can ask the court to include certain language that will limit the other parent’s ability to alter the custody arrangement. For example, you can include a provision that says: “This court order shall remain non-modifiable unless the party seeking modification can establish a substantial change in circumstances.” Or perhaps something like this: “Any party seeking modification of this Order must first communicate his/her concerns with the other party, and if the parties cannot resolve the concerns on their own, they must submit to mediation prior to filing any motions or petitions in this court.”
If court rules permit, you may also wish to include a provision that indicates that “both parties waive their right to appeal” the custody and parenting time decision. By including specific language in the court order that limits the right to modify or to appeal the order, a party maybe discouraged from taking further action or may simply have to overcome some significant hurdles in order to modify the order.