You may think that it’s great for your child to be at your home because you live closer to her best friend. You may think that a neighborhood park makes one parent’s location the most desirable. The court is not likely to agree. Courts don’t want to interrupt or change an agreement that affects a child’s life for a “frivolous” reason. However, here are 4 situations that may cause the courts to consider a change.
1. The Child is in Danger. This is very serious and the concerned parent may not want to wait for the court to take action. If the child is in immediate danger, a call to child protective services is in order. However, the courts may consider domestic violence in a home as a reason to modify custody. Refusing to get medical care that a child needs is another example of a child who may be in danger. If the child protective services do not take action to remove the child from the home, the final decision will be up to the judge who will evaluate what is best for the child based on the information provided by all parties.
2. One Parent Moves to a New Home. Distance is going to be a factor here. If the spouse who has moved is still able to meet the custody agreement, the judge may well feel keeping it in place is the best decision. This puts some of the burden on you and your ex. If the move is going to impact the children’s lives – their after-school or sports activities, for example, the best move is for the two parents to work out a schedule they can both agree works. The schedule can be presented to the courts to validate. However, if an agreement cannot be reached, the judge is likely to consider the motivation of the move and whether it will disrupt the lives of the children in considering a change in the custody agreement.
3. The Court Ordered Schedule is being Ignored. When one parent repeatedly violates the parenting plan that was validated by the courts, it may be cause to change the agreement. Considerations might be why the schedule is not being followed and the level of communication between the parents.
4. One Parent Dies. This opens the door to the possibility of a third party being part of the custody agreement. While courts generally prefer that a child is raised by a parent, there may be extenuating circumstances when one parent dies. For example, the non-custodial parent may not be able to take on the full burden of raising the child because of his or her employment or other factors. Distance may also become a factor. The judge may consider what the child wants in this decision as well as what is deemed best for the child.
If you are seeking a change in child custody, you will want to have the advice and help of a family law attorney. This is a lawyer who specializes in family matters that become legal matters. The attorney can advise you and help you build the best possible case to bring to the judge. When you are making a decision that will affect the lives of your children, you want to have an expert on your side. Call a family law attorney before you start the process of asking for a custody change. It could be the call that brings you success.