Here are some steps to take: 1. Move in to an apartment or house in your children's school district (so there is less disruption) that has more than adequate bedroom and bathroom arrangements for the children (no more than two to a bedroom); 2. Make sure to carefully vet your adult housemates. If any has a criminal record, your spouse will be able to play that up in Court; 3. Figure out how you will handle childcare (close willing relatives preferred) when you are away at work; 4. File an OSC re modification of child custody with a detailed declaration that points out the living arrangements, school district, child care, and your closeness to your kids. Ask for mediation to show a willingness to cooperate; 5. In Court, always keep in mind that your tone is as important as your argument. Keep a level head and a calm persona regardless of what is said; 6. In mediation, treat the mediator like a king and be organized. Mention "the best interests of the children" in every other paragraph. Good luck.
First of all the rights that a court really consider is the best interest of the children. The best interest of the children relates general welfare, health, safety and education of the children. When you appear in court, you want to ensure that all the arguments you present in court are in line with the best interest. Even if you have adequate living space, beds, area for children to play, live in the same school district, have access to good health care for the children, a court may be hesitant to immediately give you an increased visitation. Because you have been gone for so long, I would request increased time and a step up visitation plan. Additionally, to show your true intent of being with your children I would volunteer for reunification therapy with the children. In the interim make sure you request the mother to see the kids as much as possible and document that. Best of luck.
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