Modification of Child Custody and Visitation will only be granted where there is a substantial, unanticipated, material, change in circumstances and where a modification is in the best interests of the children. In D.M.J v. A.J.T a final judgment was entered by the trial court in 2011. A parenting plan was incorporated into the final judgment. The parenting plan provided that when the parties' child was old enough to attend kindergarten the parents would decide where the child should go to school. If the parties were unable to decide, the matter was supposed to be mediates. Four years later, the mother alleged in her supplemental petition for modification of timesharing that the father had moved 25 miles from where he lived when the final judgment was entered. The mother alleged that this created a substantial change in circumstances that warranted a modification of timesharing. The Mother requested additional timesharing, increased child support, a designation as the ultimate decision maker for issues involving the child's education. The trial court granted the Mother's supplemental petition. The father appealed the trial court's order.
Restrictions on child custody and visitation by a judge in a court order must be accompanied by a description of the steps that a parent can take to reestablish unsupervised custody and visitation. In a recent case captioned Bahls v. Bahls a parent asked for a rehearing on a prior decision that was rendered by the Court. The appellate court granted the motion for a rehearing and reissued a revised opinion. The appellate court reversed the trial court's judgment because it failed to provide the specific steps required for the parent to end supervised visitation with her child. The trial court heard testimony from many witnesses on the appropriate timesharing arrangements for the parent and the child. The trial court ordered supervised visitation. The court also awarded ultimate parental responsibility to one of the parents. The Court permitted one parent to have most of the timesharing with the child and awarded supervised visitation to the other parent without providing any suggestion as to how unsupervised visitation could take place.