One of the most common misconceptions about divorce is that everything is final. One thing we can always count on in life is change, and when it comes to divorce, it is no different. Changes occur in many aspects of our lives and can directly affect things we have put into place. In today’s case: custody modifications.
Scroll on to learn more about custody modifications.
What is Custody Modification?
As life goes on and as children grow, adjustments may need to be made to the custody agreement. Changes may be made to the custody agreement as long as both parents have come to a mutual consensus. However, for it to be legally binding, the changes must be submitted for approval to the court. If the court does not approve, then it is not in effect, and neither parent is required to follow it.
Custody Modification Requirements
Many changes may occur in your life or your ex-spouse’s life that can affect existing child support and visitation arrangements. To receive a custody modification from the court, the petitioner must prove one or more of the following significant changes to their lifestyle:
- Job loss
- Promotion or a new job with an increased salary
- Birth of another child
- A parent convicted of criminal charges
- A parent has violated a court order
- Discovery of child abuse
- Substance abuse by parent or child
- Mental illness of parent or child
- Regular denial of visitation by the custodial parent
- The sudden death of a parent
- Relocation of 150 miles or more from the residence of the ex-spouse
- Wish for additional parent time
The Best Interest of the Child
In addition to the list above of significant changes in lifestyle, the court will only consider changing the current custody agreement if it is in the best interest of the child. Children thrive in safe, consistent, and stable environments. The court will ensure that the child has the safety, consistency, and stability that it needs to develop and grow properly. Here are some of the factors the court will look at when determining the child’s best interest:
- Which parent has, in the past, been the primary caregiver
- Which parent is emotionally closer to the child
- Keeping siblings together
- Either parents’ desire for custody
- Parents’ financial resources
- Substance abuse of either parent
- Religious compatibility with child and parent
- Location of extended family members
- Whether or not the child is happy, thriving, and well adjusted
- The preference of the child
- Parents’ past conduct and actions and their moral standards
Let the Team at The Ault Firm Represent You
Making adjustments and changing the terms of a divorce settlement is not easy, but with the right lawyer, it is possible. The skilled team of attorneys at The Ault Firm have years of experience and have successfully helped men and women petition for a custody modification. Our lawyers are here to offer you guidance and counsel and to help you navigate this process. Contact the professionals at The Ault Firm to schedule your case review.