You might think that your divorce issues are settled once the court issues its final decree, but the fact of the matter is that you can revisit the orders contained in that decree to determine if they need modification. This may be true in the case of spousal support, for example, when financial needs and incomes change. But one of the most common areas where modification is sought is with child custody and visitation.
Why you should think about modifying custody
A child custody arrangement should always support and further your child’s best interests. If at any point, then, changed circumstances have negatively impacted your child, then you might want to consider modification. The same holds true if you have viable safety concerns. Whether it’s your child’s physical, emotional or psychological safety, you need to ensure that your child is protected.
Top reasons justifying child custody modification
If you decide that modification is necessary in your case, then you’re going to have to make specific arguments as to why. The type of argument that you make is going to depend on the facts at hand, but here are some of the most common reasons why people try to change their existing custody and visitation orders:
- Substance abuse: A child’s exposure to parental substance abuse can be extremely harmful. Your child may end up developing anxiety and depression, and he or she may start exhibiting aggressive behaviors and poor school performance. He or she may also be at an increased risk of abuse or neglect.
- Mental health concerns: An individual can be an effective parent while being diagnosed with a mental health condition. However, when that condition goes untreated and as a result puts your child’s well-being at risk, then you’ll be warranted in requesting a modification.
- Financial instability: The custodial parent has to have enough financial stability to adequately care for the child. If, for some reason, his or her financial resources dry up to the point that he or she can’t provide for your child’s basic needs, then it may be time to seek a change in physical custody.
- Parental interference: When the court issues its initial order on custody, the hope is generally that you and your child’s other parent will be able to get along well enough to implement effective co-parenting. This allows your child to have meaningful time with each parent. If, however, the other parent starts denying you the ability to have visitation and other forms of contact with your child, then your child may be denied the opportunity to have a meaningful relationship with you. This may work against the child’s best interests and thereby warrant a motion to modify.
- Relocation: If the custodial parent attempts to relocate with the child but doing so threatens to take the child away from his or her family and friends, cultural and educational connections, and, of course, the other parent. The court may find that this change is so significant as to be detrimental to the child’s best interests.
Are you prepared to address your custody modification issue?
Seeking a custody modification is oftentimes the only way to ensure that your child’s best interests are protected. Sometimes his or her safety is even on the line. Therefore, if you think that a modification is necessary under your circumstances, then you need to prepare your arguments as thoroughly as possible.
An attorney who knows how to successfully navigate these kinds of cases can help you do that by assessing and gathering the evidence that you need to present the most aggressive case possible under your set of facts.