When Can Child Custody Be Modified?
The most common circumstances under which custody can be modified are:
- When one parent is violating court orders
- When one or both parents have significant changes in circumstances
When considering a request for child custody modification, the judge will always consider the best interests of the child first, and make their decision based on the evidence presented by both parties.
Violating Court Orders
One of the most common issues between parents sharing custody is visitation rights. If either parent refuses court-ordered visitation rights to the other parent, that is a violation of court orders. While in most cases this particular issue won’t result in a judge modifying the custody orders, in extreme cases it could happen.
As difficult as it may be, it’s essential for the parent being denied visitation to work with their attorney and go through the proper legal process to enforce their visitation rights and request custody modification. Trying to work around the court is a bad idea and frequently results in producing the exact opposite outcome.
Significant Changes In Circumstances
Significant changes in circumstances need to be both permanent and directly affect the well-being of the child.
Common examples of circumstances that can be used to request child custody modification include:
- Drastically increased or reduced income
- A physical or mental impairment
- Relocating far from where the child currently lives
As an example, a parent who is initially denied custody and visitation rights due to drug or alcohol addiction may be able to request custody modification after completing a treatment program.
On the other hand, a parent who gets a moderate raise at work and wants to send their child to private school does not meet the threshold of “significant changes in circumstances” needed to request modifying custody.
How To Request Child Custody Modification
The best way to initiate a custody modification request is to work with an experienced divorce and family law attorney. The burden of proof will be on the parent who is requesting the modification. To present the best possible case, an attorney can help the requesting parent prepare for their hearing and gather evidence to use in court.
At Vonder Haar Law, we’ve helped many clients regain or modify child custody after their divorce. To learn more about how we can help with your case, please contact our office today.
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