Is this grounds for modification (substantial change)?

When our child was born myself and the non custodial parent were not married so I gave our child my surname. Just for background, I have sole legal custody and primary physical custody the non custodial parent has visitation. The non custodial parent in recent weeks has been crossing my surname out on the sign in/out sheet at our child’s school as well as telling our child that their last name is his last name. Our child now refers to their self as “first name” then non custodial parents “last name.” The non custodial parent has also in recent weeks missed several visitation days, picked up late and did not take the spring break visitation they were entitled to and did not give any notice that they were not exercising visitation or going to be late. The non custodial parent has also been calling/texting and asking to return our child early and always at different locations other than the agreed upon place in our order. What I am wondering is this all grounds for a modification of our current order?

Sorry for all of the pronouns but I am trying to protect mine as well as our child’s identity in the forum. Thank you for any assistance you may be able to provide.

The name issue doesn’t seem relevant, since your child’s legal name can’t be changed by just crossing it off at daycare.

The stronger argument for modification is his lack of exercising his visitation time. I’m not sure if it’s substantial enough for a change.

Thanks for your opinion but I will wait for an attorney’s response. It’s not just about changing the name on school documents. It’s about teaching our child that their last name is something that its not. Our child isn’t even 2 years old but very advanced in communicating and talking and is still obviously learning things. I would think something like that would matter considering the age of our child. Sorry if I forgot to mention that before.

I would document your concerns to the other parent, and tell him that you don’t appreciate him telling your child the incorrect name. I don’t think this act alone would be enough to constitute a substantial change in circumstances, but this along with other poor parenting decisions would certainly be evidence against him in the future for a change. I would also keep track of the times he doesn’t exercise visitation and/or shows up late. All of this could be used in the future to warrant a change, but you should be aware that it is very infrequent that the non-custodial parent gets no visitation. You can read more about child custody claims and the details of a child custody action on our site.

Our son has been expressing recently that he has to use his dads lastname at his dads. I confronted his Dad and he said that he is tired of me calling our son by his name (on his birth certificate.) I explained to him that was pretty much too bad as I refuse to change it. But I know for a fact he is still calling our son by his last name and not mine. Our son has told me if he says the wrong name he gets spanked. He recently started talking about himself in 3rd person alot and overall seems to be very upset and confused when you ask him his name. He pauses and then answers what he thinks you want to hear. I have tried getting him an appointment with psychologist but have been unsuccessful finding one that will accept him at his young age. He will be 3 soon and it will open more doors for us in that respect.

Another thing I wanted to ask is that his dad has not picked him up for approximately 40 of the midweek dinner visits last year and this year. He doesn’t want to drive to come and pick him up and only feels that it’s “worth it” to make the trip approx 45min commute. Our court order says that he has to call me 24 hours in advance but he usually only gives me 20mins to an hour notification. I have not tried to go back to court yet as I didn’t want a judge to think I was being petty but I feel like enough is enough. He also calls me and returns him early all the time and I don’t mind because I enjoy every minute that I get to spend with our son but having to drop everything because he seems to think the world revolves around him and his schedule is frustrating. His visitation usually ends at 830pm on Sunday nights but he has consistently been asking me to meet him at 4pm or 6pm often times he drops him off right before dinner because he doesn’t want to have to feed him.

My end goal is not to take away his rights or anything like that. I do believe its important for our son to have a relationship with his dad but I don’t think its fair that we be expected to hold our breath every mid week dinner visitation wondering if his dad is going to get him. I would like to have the mid weeks amended and have the end time of the weekend visitation changed. Do you think a judge would honor something like this?

If your motion to modify was granted, it is possible that a judge would grant the schedule you want.