Child custody is an issue rife with emotions in North Dakota family law. Parents who are unable to come to an amicable agreement as to residential responsibility, parenting time and other aspects can engage in an extended dispute. Even after the case has been decided, it is not necessarily over. A parent can request that primary residential responsibility be modified. There are two steps that must be completed to do this and it is imperative for both parents to understand them as the process moves forward.
Meeting the legal requirements for a modification
There is a term used during the legal process called “prima facie.” Essentially, it means a rebuttable presumption of the law. The parent who wants the modification must give a written prima facie document to show why the modification should be made and that the law justifies it. Since the state does not have a definition for this in its laws, the parent must show that situation warrants it so the modification can be made.
Once prima facie is provided, the court will have a hearing to assess the evidence. The motion must then be proved. The court will not only want the parent requesting the modification to provide the evidence to justify it, but it will also want a response from the other parent. When there is no prima facie case, the case will be dismissed and the modification request will be denied.
There is a meeting between the parents and their legal representatives to complete an informational statement. This will occur within 30 days of the order for the evidentiary hearing. The parent who asks for the modification is responsible for showing that the requirements to modify the parental responsibility agreement have been met.
Legal assistance may be essential with child custody cases
Because parenting rights, residential responsibility and parenting time are so complex, it is frequently the foundation for contentiousness and dispute. Prima facie and other types of evidence can be confusing for people who are already concerned about how the case will be decided. Whether it is from the perspective of the current custodial parent or the non-custodial parent, asking for a modification of this kind may require legal advice. Contacting a firm experienced in all areas of family law and child custody might be able to help.