You make regular payments. You are never late. You always pick up your child on time and drop her off. You think you deserve another shot at modifying the custody order. You worked hard and established that you are reliable. You deserve more time with your child. So how do you go about accomplishing that?
Some people believe that child support and child custody are linked. Essentially, since you pay child support regularly, you should be entitled to a new custody arrangement. Those people would be wrong. Support and custody are completely separate legal concerns, and the courts view them that way.
Goodwill through consistent behavior is considered by the court in a custody modification hearing, but it isn’t dispositive. The court always considers these matters as to what is in the best interests of the child.
What if, you may think, the other parent is always late or interferes with your time with your child? In those situations, it is almost always best to try and work it out informally with the other parent. Often you will find an entirely valid reason for the issues and work out a compromise.
Another pathway you can take is to file for joint custody. Joint custody means both parents get a roughly equal say over the child. But these arrangements are often unstable because parents cannot agree. To get joint custody, the court will consider your ability to work with your ex-spouse.
If you are trying to modify your child custody arrangement, then you may want to speak with a lawyer. You should not, under almost every circumstance, withhold child support as leverage to get a better child custody arrangement. No matter how justified you may feel, the courts will almost always view that negatively. Instead, speak with an attorney who can help you gather evidence and prepare arguments steeped in legal support that can hopefully get you the result that you deserve. Many studies show that children perform better when both parents are engaged in their life, a lawyer can help you be there for your child.