For most parents, there is nothing more important than their children. Spending time with them as they grow up, is healthy and essential for not only them but also you. It’s already sad that you’re missing out on valuable time with them after a divorce. Being separated from them for any length of time has been difficult and challenging. And as time has passed, things have changed so that the original child custody agreement isn’t working for you or your children. Inarguably, the only thing that’s definitely important is their well-being who, until a certain age, have no say in their parental time, home environment, or arrangements.
So, it’s up to you to make sure they’re safe, healthy, and happy and have a positive relationship with you.
When a child custody or visitation order is issued, both parents are required to follow its terms. However, changes in circumstances and environment may cause the current arrangement to become impractical, inappropriate, unsafe, or excessively burdensome to one parent or the other.
If you feel a custody modification is necessary because there has been a change in your child’s, your, or the other parent’s life, and your ex-spouse isn’t in agreement with any change, there are actions that must be taken through the court. However, the court won’t consider a change for arbitrary reasons or just because that’s what you want. For the court to consider a change in custody, only legitimate, specific reasons may lead to a modification.
For instance, the court may take into serious consideration these reasons for a modification:
▪The existing child-parent custody order and time schedule are being violated.
▪A parent’s work schedule has changed.
▪A job change or relocation is interfering with one parent’s access to the children.
▪There is evidence of child abuse (physical, emotional, and/or mental), neglect or domestic violence.
▪A child is older and has evolving parenting needs and care.
▪An older child expresses a desire to spend more or less time with a parent.
▪The family dynamic or situation has significantly changed.
▪The child’s residence isn’t safe or they are exposed to an inappropriate environment or people.
To achieve an effective modification hearing, you should present as much documentation as possible to demonstrate why changes in circumstances and the other parent’s home environment warrants a modification. There are specific legal rules and requirements to validate a change in custody and visitation.
For the court to agree to a custody modification, either both parents must agree to it or the court approves one parent’s petition to modify. If the parents are in disagreement, the court will decide what is in the best interest of the child or children.
Because childhood passes quickly, and the presence of both loving parents is essential to children’s healthy development, if you feel the current custody and visitation arrangement is not in the best interest of your children, it’s important and responsible that you take appropriate action.
With a skilled, competent child custody attorney and legitimate reasons for a modification, the chance that a court will award a modification of the existing agreement is enhanced.
For a confidential, compassionate consultation about how the child custody attorney team at Bruce Gordon Law can guide you through the modification legal process, call us today at 203.259.1100 or send us a message on our contact form.