Almost no custody order is forever. Parents move and remarry and children get increasingly involved and activities as they get older. With that, custody modifications generally change. If both parents agree to the modifications, they can simply honor new rules without court intervention. If, however, one parent balks at the new schedule, a court order can ensure that both parties comply with new arrangements.
Looking to modify your current agreement? Read on for some tips that might help.
Will the change benefit the child?
Courts are interested in protecting the best interests of your child. When seeking a modification, explain how changing the visitation or custody schedule will be a benefit. For example: If your child is attends ballet practice every day after school and visitation causes her to miss a day, you may ask that visitation be changed to weekends to ensure your child doesn't miss class.
Show that circumstances have changed.
If you are a parent with visitation time whio would now like to have joint custody, showing the court that you have a job which allows for equal parenting time may persuade a judge that co-parenting is now in your kid's best interests. Similarly, if you need to move for access to a new job that would make your child's life more comfortable and secure, you can offer evidence to show how changing custody to allow for the move is in the best interest of your child.
Make the child's wishes known.
Once a child is at least 12 years old, he or she should be able to talk openly about his living preferences. Some judges may allow your child to speak directly with him in chambers in order to avoid the stress of testifying in court. If the child's parent has already allowed him or her to live with someone else primarily for at least six months, the court may find that grounds for a custody change. This, however, does not apply when one parent is active duty military and currently deployed.
These are just a few ways custody arrangements might be modified. Each case, however, is unique. If you are interested in modifying your current custody order, speak with a family law attorney who can offer you sound legal counsel.