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3 instances when you can modify child custody

On Behalf of | Dec 7, 2023 | Family Law |

If you are a divorced parent, you are likely aware that the custody order establishes who has custodial rights over the children. But did you also know that the order isn’t set in stone? You can modify it if it’s no longer feasible.

Suppose your circumstances have significantly changed, and your current custody order no longer reflects the kids’ best interest; you can ask a court to modify the order.

Substantial change in circumstances

When considering modifications to child custody, courts typically require a substantial change in circumstances. This can include factors such as a parent’s relocation, changes in the child’s needs or alterations in either parent’s financial situation. The court’s primary concern is the child’s best interest, and any modification should align with this principle.

Violation of existing orders

If one parent consistently violates the terms of the existing custody orders, it may provide grounds for modification. This can include interference with parenting time schedules, refusal to adhere to agreed-upon parenting plans or engaging in behaviors that jeopardize the child’s well-being. Proving such violations is critical; to strengthen your case, meticulous documentation of the violations is essential.

Child’s preference and age

As children grow older, their preferences and needs may evolve. Once a child reaches a certain age, usually around 12 or older, the court may consider their preferences when determining custody modifications. However, it’s important to note that the court will prioritize the child’s best interest over their preferences.

In some cases, the court may appoint a Guardian ad Litem to assess the child’s situation objectively. This impartial representative can provide insights into the child’s preferences and overall well-being, assisting the court in making informed decisions.

Whether it’s a substantial change in circumstances, violations of existing orders or the child’s evolving preferences, navigating these complexities requires careful consideration and strategic presentation of evidence. Parents seeking modifications may need to consult with legal support to help ensure their case is effectively presented in court.