It is hard to plan or forecast all issues that may arise in a parenting plan or in rights and responsibilities in co-parenting your children. Typically, the court will not allow a motion to modify decision-making or the allocation of parental responsibilities for at least two years after the last order was issued. There are a few exceptions to this rule. Once such exception is if the welfare of the child is in imminent danger. This page addresses the process and need to file a Motion to Modify Decision Making Authority or Allocation of Parental Responsibility.
After two years a motion to modify the allocation of parental responsibility can be requested by a parent. The procedure to follow is the same to modify parenting time. A motion must be filed in the proper court and you are then required to serve the motion on the other party. The court will hold certain hearings regarding the motion and you will be required to be prepared for all hearings. The court will provide you with all written documentation of its order. Please read the orders closely and ensure that you are compliant with all court dates and deadlines.
Parental Responsibility includes decision-making authority. This is typically the person or persons that are to make the decision for the child regarding school, religion, extra-curricular activities, and health care matters. If both parties have joint decision-making, yet cannot reach agreement on a particular issue, you may have the court appoint a Decision Maker. A Decision Maker is a neutral party who would hear all sides from both parties and then would make the decision. This is an option for those who are co-parenting and cannot always agree on parenting decisions. This is a way to allow each party to present their side of an issue without having to go through the cost and expense of lengthy litigation.
Thus if you are having what is essentially a dispute on a particular issue, rather than filing a motion to prevent the other parent from making the decision, you may consider requesting the court appoint a decision maker. Many times a decision maker is named in a parenting plan or separation agreement. If you are unsure if your parenting plan or separation agreement contains such a provision and you no longer have the document, the court will have a copy that can be provided to you.
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