Some child custody arrangements don’t work out as the parents had hoped or planned. Unforeseen circumstances, such as a job relocation to a new city, can force parents to attempt a change in their current custody arrangement. In these cases, parents must work with the courts to establish a new agreement that puts the interests of the child or children at the front.
Understanding the common reasons for modification of child custody agreements and the process involved can help you prepare for the changing situations in your own life.
Reasons for a Change in Child Custody
To qualify for a modification to a child custody agreement, the court must believe the reasoning presented by the parent or parents is serious enough for a change. The court will consider the needs of the child first; a parent complaining about a slightly longer drive to pick up their child probably won’t be granted a modification.
- Relocation is a common reason to alter child custody if it meets certain thresholds. The judge must weigh a number of factors, including the reason for the move and how the move could affect the current schedule of visitations. The judge must also consider the effect a change could have on the schedule of the child when it comes to school and extracurricular activities.
- The loss of income and the inability to provide a comfortable environment for the child are other common reasons for a change in child custody.
- The behavior of a parent can also give cause for the other parent to request a change. If the child is believed to be in danger, for example, the parent can petition for full custody of the child.
- A lack of cooperation when it comes to keeping to the visitation schedule can also lead to a change. The uncooperative parent will need to explain to the judge his or her reasoning to prevent modification to the custody agreement.
The Process of Modifying Child Custody Agreements
Depending on whether the parents are willing to cooperate with each other, a child custody change can come about in two different ways.
- If only one parent wants a modification of child custody, a motion must be presented to the court and the other parent must be notified. The parent who wants the alteration will need to demonstrate that the change is necessary in order to benefit the child. In a situation dealing with potential child abuse, for example, the parent will need to present a witness and police reports to the court.
- However, if both parents are willing to work together to modify the current child custody agreement, they won’t need to worry about lengthy court proceedings. The parents can simply present a document to the court outlining the changes that they wish to make to their agreement. The court will need to approve it before it will go into effect.
If you think you have a valid reason for a modification in child custody agreement, first, talk to your ex-spouse. You might be able to reach an amicable decision. If that doesn’t work, then call a family law attorney. They can help navigate through the process of changes in child custody. Feel free to contact us via our online form and Attorney Cheshire will reply back to you personally.