A previous post discusses the important fact that, for some parents, child support modification is an option. Various situations can change after a divorce was once settled, creating a need to alter some aspects of the split.
Child support is a common area wherein modification comes into play, but it is not the only arrangement that can become a problem. Another major setup that might need changing is child custody. This can be the most sensitive matter in a divorce. Parents and courts must always proceed with what is best for the children as a guiding force when considering such a post-divorce modification.
A parent can file a complaint for custody modification individually, and if the two parents both agree that they want a change in custody, they can file together. A judge will decide whether to approve a modification based on various conditions. The overriding goal is landing on an arrangement that is best for the children — not necessarily the parents.
The judge will want to know how the children have been doing in their current situation. Are they doing okay in school? Do they have a healthy relationship with family and friends, including both of their parents? Is their custodial parent allowing the children to spend time with the non-custodial parent as stipulated in their divorce agreement?
Child custody and visitation agreements are sometimes modified if a judge agrees that a parent is abusing drugs or alcohol and, therefore is not fit at the time to properly parent and supervise the children. Or maybe a parent has turned their life around and fights for a custody modification because they believe they are now fit to parent unlike in the past.
As a basis of family, courts tend to understand that a parent’s relationship with their children is invaluable and important to protect. Making decisions regarding child custody and a post-divorce modification is a game of balancing the importance of child safety and the parent-child relationship.
Someone with concerns regarding their current child custody and visitation arrangement can discuss their case with a family law attorney. A lawyer experienced in this legal matter will understand the sensitive nature of your concerns, while also being able to explain to you your possible options in moving forward.