When parents go through a divorce, there are many determinations to be made for their children’s future. One of these includes a child custody agreement. Once a child custody agreement is determined, it must be followed by both parents. If either party fails to do so, the court can enforce the agreement. However, the court also understands that life changes overtime and a family’s custody agreement may no longer suit their needs as life goes on. It is because of this that a modification can be requested to find an arrangement that works better for them. Continue reading below to learn more about how this can be done.
When Can I Modify Custody Arrangements?
Parents who want to modify their custody agreement must petition the court for approval. It is important to know that they simply cannot do so on their own. When asking the court for a modification of a custody arrangement, parents must prove there is a reason that calls for it. This can include:
- The child’s best interests: if a child is unhappy or their living situation no longer works for them.
- The child is in danger: if a parent feels the co-parent may put the child in danger or there is suspicion of abuse/neglect.
- Relocation: if a parent needs to move and wants to bring their child with them.
- A parent cannot meet the needs of their child: if a parent’s life circumstances make it harder 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 a 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?
When a parent wants to modify their custody agreement, the first step should be to discuss the matter with the child’s other parent. Parents who can work together may benefit from independent or mediated negotiations in order to make beneficial changes. While this is true, these situations still call for a modification petition to be filed and approved by a judge.
Parents who cannot reach agreements with one another can file a petition for modification with the court. At their court appearance, they must prove to the judge the modification is necessary. Once the evidence is presented, the judge can evaluate the case and create a new custody order if they approve the motion.
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