Can Child Custody Be Modified?

One of the things that many people who have fought for child custody do not realize is that the court decision is not permanent. The court will seek to provide the child with the scenario that is in their best possible interests at that moment in time. When circumstances and situations change, the court, the parents, and the child may decide that the custody agreement outlined by the court is no longer working for them. In these instances, the court can be petitioned to change or modify a child custody agreement.

What causes the court to change a custody agreement?

If the parents of the child can work out an agreement without taking it to court that would be the best for all involved, they may use this approach. However, in many cases coming to a complete agreement is not possible. The court will generally agree to hear the case if it can be shown there has been a substantial change in circumstances that has occurred since the original child custody order was enacted. In addition, this change must have been something that neither parent nor the court envisioned or accounted for in the original child custody agreement.

Some of the changes that can apply to a change of child custody order include:

  • Need to raise the child in a traditional family environment
  • Increase in the child's needs according to age
  • Significant change in the income level of one parent
  • Relocation of one parent to another state
  • Current living situation places the child in physical or emotional harm
  • One parent is refusing visitation by another parent

The most important consideration is the stability provided by the home the child primarily resides in and how the custody agreement will affect that stability. Changing a child custody agreement simply because one spouse is not happy with it is not typically possible.

Child custody modifications is best pursued with the help of an experienced family law attorney. While any family law case is bound to be tense, those involving children can be extremely fraught. Working with a family law attorney that understands the sensitivity of the case can make the difference in having a custody outcome both parents can be happy with.

If you are in need of a family attorney, contact Richard A. Heller, P.A. for an initial consultation.

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