How do I change my separation agreement?
Question & AnswerHow do I change my separation agreement?
4. Go to court to change terms not dealing with support
You and your partner might still not be able to agree on changing terms other than support in your even with the help of a family law professional. If this is your situation, you can go to court and start a family court case.
Going to court can be a complicated process and it can take a lot of time. It can be stressful and expensive, but it is sometimes necessary to decide your issues. This family law court process flowchart explains each step in a family law court case.
Judges usually assume it's better for a child to have a relationship with all their parents after they separate or . They make decisions using the family law rules and laws.
Judges look at all the evidence and decide and using a legal test called the . Decision-making responsibility and parenting time used to be called and .
The best interests of the child test looks at things like:
- the child's physical, emotional, and psychological safety, security, and well-being
- the relationship between each parent and the child
- how long the child has lived in a stable situation
- each parent's plan to care for and raise the child
- the child's views and wishes, unless there's no way to find out what they are
- if there's been abuse against any family member or any child
You can talk to a lawyer who can explain what your existing separation agreement says you have to do. A lawyer can also tell you if there are facts that may convince a judge that the agreement should be changed or ended and help you through the process.
If you can't afford to hire a lawyer for your whole case, some lawyers will provide “unbundled services” or “limited scope retainer” services. This means you pay them to help you with part of your case.
If you can't afford to hire a lawyer at all, you may be able to find legal help in other places.