As children grow up and their needs change, they may require some modifications to the child custody order to accommodate their growth. Generally, family courts are hesitant when it comes to granting modifications to an existing child custody order because of the importance placed on stability and consistency in a child’s life. Therefore, to obtain a modification to your child custody order, you must prove a significant change in circumstances and that a modification will serve the best interests of your children.
Changing the Terms of Your Child Custody Agreement
Before taking the matter to court, you and your co-parent should discuss it. If you can reach a mutually agreeable solution, it will save you time and money. However, you must submit the changes to court for approval to ensure it is enforceable.
If you cannot reach an agreement, you can bring a motion to court and request modifications to the custody order. You and your co-parent will have the opportunity to argue for or against a modification to the existing child custody order.
There are several a judge will examine when determining if a modification is necessary, including:
- If there are issues with the current child custody order
- The parent’s relationship with each other
- The mental and physical health of each parent
- How involved each parent is in their children’s lives
- If either parent deliberately prevented the other from spending time with the children
- Each parent’s financial situation
- The amount of time the children spend with each parent
- Each parent’s living environment
One of these factors may not necessarily be enough to warrant a modification of the child custody agreement or parenting plan, but two or more may likely result in some changes.
Below are some examples of changes in circumstances that may lead to a modification:
- One of the parents is moving
- One of the parent’s work schedule changed
- The custodial parent’s home is not a safe environment
- The children are older and have substantially different needs than when the order was first issued
In some cases, a judge may consider the children’s wishes if they are old enough and mature enough. However, a decision will ultimately be based on ensuring their best interests are served.
Reach Out to One of Our Child Custody Attorneys Today!
If you need a modification of your current child custody order, you need to secure skilled legal counsel to ensure the best possible results for you and your family. At Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, our child custody attorneys will fight on your behalf to help you obtain the changes you need. Our team has the experience, insight, knowledge, and compassion necessary to get you through this experience.