Life may throw many circumstantial changes at you, maybe when you least expect it. You and your co-parent may have walked away from the divorce court with an agreeable set of child custody and parenting time orders, but might now find that the terms no longer suit your current parenting needs. If you are struggling to keep up with your original co-parenting plan, it may be time to modify your custody orders in court.
Before you proceed with the decision, keep in mind that a court will only modify custody orders based on the bests interests of your child. Consider whether your motivations for requesting a modification align with some of the most common reasons that qualify:
- Either you or your co-parent is relocating -- If either you or your co-parent needs to relocate to a new address in a way that would inconvenience your custody and parenting time agreements, you may be entitled to an order modification. Reasons for relocation may include being transferred by the company you work for, moving for military service, or even a medical emergency. Every child deserves quality time with both parents. The court will review your relocation needs to ensure a valid order modification.
- The current custody agreements put your child in danger -- If your child's current living situation threatens his or her physical safety or emotional wellbeing, the court may decide to reallocate physical custody. Threatening circumstances may include domestic violence or your child's exposure to harmful situations, such as drugs, alcohol abuse or even pornographic material.
- Other reasons that may affect your child's interests -- Your child's interests may continue to change as he or she grows older. Maybe your child has recently picked up a new extracurricular activity that conflicts with your existing parenting time. Perhaps your custody arrangement is affecting your child's religious upbringing. As your child's needs evolve, your custody orders may also need to catch up.
Every situation is unique
While these may be common reasons for parents to request a modification, a child's best interests may look different for every family. An attorney can help you determine whether your individual circumstances qualify your family for a new custody order, as well as guide you through the legal process of requesting a modification in court.