there was a separation agreement drawn up before divorce in which it states the ex wife has primary physical custody and joint legal custody. I would like this modified because she isn’t willing to let me see my children enough. do I need to file a complaint for custody in order to get joint physical custody? have the separation agreement modified?
So long as your separation agreement has not become part of a court order, you can simply file a complaint for child custody and the standard for modification is the ‘best interest of the children.’ If it was incorporated into a court order, then you’ll need to show a ‘substantial change of circumstances affecting the children’ in order to modify. If you can reach an agreement regarding a new custody schedule, you can certainly sign a new agreement. If you anticipate that she will not agree, I would go ahead and file a complaint for child custody.
Our article on changing custody and visitation is a great resource to look at.