How to File a Motion in an Existing Child Custody Case

By Valerie Stevens

A motion is the legal device used to ask the court to change something when a lawsuit already exists. While a petition or complaint starts a lawsuit, a motion seeks immediate action. A motion can be filed to seek child support while a divorce is pending, for example. After a divorce is granted, a motion can be filed to try to modify the visitation schedule set at the time of the final hearing.

Step 1

Contact the clerk of court in your county to find out if there is a motion form and a cover sheet that you can use to file your motion. Inquire also about the filing fee.

Step 2

Draft a statement to go with the motion form if a form is available, or draft a motion that condenses what you want and why you want it. For instance, if you are asking that the child visitation schedule be changed because you have moved to a different state, be specific and tell the court exactly when you want to have visitation. If you are paying child support and moved to take a better paying job, point this out.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Step 3

Try to condense your arguments into a couple of pages. Eliminate unnecessary negative comments about the other party. Stick to the facts and be specific about what you want and why it is in the best interest of the child.

Step 4

File the motion with the court clerk. Request a hearing date when you file your motion, if possible. It is easier to notify the other party of a hearing date at the same time as you serve your motion if you have the date.

Step 5

Serve your motion on the other party by certified mail or by hiring a process server to personally deliver the motion to the other party.

Step 6

File proof of service with the court to show that you have informed the other party. If you send the motion to the other party by certified mail, keep the green receipt from the U.S. Postal Service and attach it to a piece of paper with the green card when it is returned to show that you have successfully served the other party. File this proof with the court. If you use a process server, complete a certificate of service or other form available in your state.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How to Get a Transfer of Venue in a Divorce in Alabama
 

References

Related articles

Can You Change Your Divorce Five Years Later in New York?

Whether you have been divorced for five years or five months, you may ask the courts in New York to modify your divorce decree if circumstances have substantially changed since the time of your divorce. When it comes to child and spousal support, the court considers changes in the financial situation of the spouses. For modification of child custody, the court also considers whether or not changing the custody order is in the best interests of the child.

How to File a No Fault Divorce Without a Lawyer

A no-fault divorce simply means that you are not accusing your spouse of doing anything wrong to end your marriage. It’s not the same as an uncontested divorce, in which your spouse offers no legal opposition to the proceedings. With a no-fault divorce, you’re simply giving him less to contest. He cannot argue your grounds, or the fact that you believe your marriage is over. He can only object to the way in which you've asked the court to end the marriage, such as how you'd like your property divided between the two of you.

How to Postpone a Divorce Court Day

Divorce hearings are scheduled at the court's convenience. However, judges have the discretion to push back a hearing date if you or your spouse request a different date.The court knows, however, that one or both spouses may use rescheduling as a tactic to delay a case unnecessarily. Knowing how to ask for a different trial date and when the court may deny a request will help you make sure that you get suitable trial date for your divorce.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Rules to Show Cause for Divorce

A Rule to Show Cause is a court order. It is used to schedule a hearing so that a dispute can be heard by the court. ...

How to Apply for Sole Custody in Baltimore, Maryland

In some cases, sole legal custody or sole physical custody is in the best interests of a child. For a parent wishing to ...

How to Obtain a Divorce in North Carolina

If you wish to obtain a divorce in North Carolina, you can hire an attorney to handle the process for you or you can ...

How to Petition for Custody

The best interests of the child is the standard family courts use to determine custody throughout the United States. ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED