Divorce does not only impact the two spouses in question, but also any family that is involved. This includes any children the couple may have together. When parents go through a divorce, one of the most important matters they are required to settle is child custody. Once a child custody agreement is made, it must be followed or it can be enforced by the court. While this is true, the court recognizes that families can experience changes throughout their life that may cause the custody situation to no longer suit their needs. When this happens, a parent can petition the court to receive a modification. Continue reading below to learn more about this process.
When Can I Modify Custody Arrangements?
It is important to know that parents are not able to modify their custody arrangements on their own. They are required to show the court that there is a reason the change is needed. The following are several reasons as to why a modification may be granted:
- The child’s best interests: if a child is unhappy in their current living situation or it is not working for them.
- The child is in danger: if a parent feels the co-parent may endanger their child or there is evidence of abuse or neglect, they can file a petition to modify the custody arrangement.
- Relocation: if a parent needs to move, they may request a modification to change the custody orders to bring their child with them.
- A parent cannot meet the needs of their child: if a parent’s life circumstances, such as employment status, makes it difficult to support their child the way they need.
- One parent is not cooperating: if parents have joint custody but one of them does not follow the agreement.
- One parent passes away: if one co-parent dies and the other parent does not want a new spouse to raise their child, they can pursue full custody.
How is Custody Modified?
To change a custody agreement, parents should first begin simply by speaking with their co-parent. If the two are on good terms, they may be able to negotiate with one another to reach conclusions regarding the changes that are needed. This can be done either one on one or with the help of a mediator. It is important to note that, even through this method, a modification petition still needs to be filed and approved by the judge.
If the two parents are unable to work together, the parent who wishes to receive a modification can file the petition to receive a court date. During this time, they are required to inform the judge of their reasoning for the modification. The judge can evaluate the situation to see if the change is necessary. If approved, they can establish new custody orders based on what is best for the child.
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Matters of divorce and family law should be navigated with the guidance of an experienced attorney. If you need strong legal representation regarding matters of divorce, family law, and estate law, contact the Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. to schedule a consultation today.