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Should I be very specific when writing a motion to add an extra overnight to our parenting time schedule?

Parsippany, NJ |

I am writing a motion to add an extra overnight to our parenting time. My son is only 4 and i have been seeing him 28% of the time. I think it is time to add more time to spend with me his father. The question is: I am writing a motion 1 to 2 pages long with all the reasons why? SHould I be very direc when writing?and then when I speak at trial add more details? I am not sure if Judge pays more attention to a motion or to the actual hearing. I noticed that sometimes Judge does not read motions and sometimes he does not listen our presentations. I just need to understand which of the two has more importantce the motion or your hearing? I am going pro see, I have been in court over 20 times so I can not hire a lawyer at this moment. Any tips will help. Thansk

is it consider offensive to bold and underline in order to attract more attention to the Judge? Of course I do not want to sound or pretend to be a lawyer and I am not writing a testament but I really want to focus in some omportant words and sentences...

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Attorney answers 5

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If you want it considered it is REQUIRED to be in the papers. Take the time to MEET your REQUIRED BURDEN of proof. You only receive mere seconds and minutes in court (where by the way you really do not know what your doing or what is happening around you - its like thinking you know basketball so you bet your soul with the devil and you try to play an NBA game. In 3 minutes your down 30-2 and your like oh my god what just happened, what did I do? Help!!!!) So yes, write it down, concisely as you can as there is a page limitation of 15 pages double spaced in your initial certification, and make your points. Good luck.



your example is so true. i have some much respect for lawyers you really deserve each cent you make. it is a very stressful job

Anthony J Van Zwaren

Anthony J Van Zwaren


I agree with the other answers. I believe you need to rely on your certification and not what you answer in court, although that can certainly assist your case if your judge peppers the parents with questions based upon the papers. And legal writing courses and instructions from the rules of court indicate that judges do not need to be instructed with what is important in your arguments, so avoid bold and underlining and certainly avoid using ALL CAPS. Let your reasoning do the persuading.


Your certification should state the reasons why there is a change in circumstances and the reasons it would be in child's best interest to increase parenting time with you.

973-984-0800. Please be advised my answers to questions does not constitute legal advice and you should not rely on it, due to the fact that we have never met, I have not been aprised of the facts in you case nor have I reviewed any documents.


First, I think both the motion and the hearing are important. You should be very clear as to what material change has occurred since your last agreement and why it should now be modified. Now that your son is 4, he may be a little older and would benefit from more parenting time with his father. I think you should be very clear when writing your motion and also when speaking in court. Stay clear on the issue of what you are seeking and why. Of course, children would benefit from seeing both parents equally; however, the courts will look at what is in the "best interest of the child". They may consider parents work schedules, living arrangements and how disruptive back and forth may be for the child. I would suggest not discussing percentages. Break the percentages down in a way that benefits the family and why; such as, maintaining and creating a stronger bond with your son and if your limited to days/hours, it is more difficult to create that bond. It should be about what is best for your son. Be clear of why you want the extra night, may be helpful to include specific pick up and drop off times, where that would occur, who will be transporting and why the extra time should be granted. There should also be places in NJ you could seek free legal advice, depending on your income. Good Luck.

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An application seeking additional parenting time needs to be very specific. You need to explain what the change in circumstance is that warrants the increase and also why it would be in the child's best interest to see you more often. Your application should be respectful. I attended a Continuing Legal Education class a few years ago where a judge was speaking. That judge asked that we (attorneys) not bold or underline anything because that implies that we think he is not reading the entire document. But, if you feel the need to bold or underline, do it once to get your main point across. Best of luck.


Best bet is to have a local lawyer handle it. Avvo has a terrific "find a lawyer" tool to find an inexpensive lawyer in your city. Good luck.

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