Parents who find their current child custody arrangement no longer beneficial to them may need to ask the court to modify it. There are several reasons why one parent might desire to change the current child custody arrangement after attempting to contact the other. Here are some more details on the factors that should cause a parent to consider changing child custody.
Child endangerment is one of the strongest justifications for why some parents file modification orders in child custody. If one of the parents is acting in a way that could threaten the child, the court may alter the order and take away or significantly reduce that parent’s right to physical possession.
The following actions may qualify for a modification of child custody due to endangerment:
- Abuse of any kind, including mental, physical, emotional, or sexual (including verbal abuse)
- The child is exposed to abuse by your actions or inaction.
- Child abuse caused by drug and alcohol usage that puts them in danger or has a detrimental impact
- Significant issues with mental health (psychotic breaks, hospitalizations, unstable or erratic behavior)
A parent’s situation has changed
Child custody orders are not set in stone since courts understand that parents’ circumstances can change over time. However, if you want to ask for a custody adjustment because one of the parents’ circumstances has changed, you must show that the change is significant and will impact the child’s life and well-being.
Suppose the noncustodial parent had a substance addiction problem but can now demonstrate that they have been sober for two years and are employed steadily. In that case, the parent may obtain a modification to allow them to spend more time with their child.
One parent is unwilling to abide by the terms of custody.
You and the other parent received a custody order from the judge or reached an agreement when you first went to court. It’s expected that both of you adhere to this order. Now, the other parent isn’t sticking to it. Perhaps they fail to bring your child home on time every week or refuse to let you know when they take them out of town. In that case, you may ask the court to change the child custody arrangement if this is the situation.
If the custodial parent moves, the noncustodial parent may petition the court to change custody. Moving is only sometimes considered a compelling reason to alter child custody. Therefore, there is no assurance that this kind of petition would be successful, but the court should consider relocation while making its decision.
When one of these conditions is true, the court will typically view a move as a good reason to change the child custody arrangement:
- The change would be difficult for the current custody arrangement to continue and would put a heavy load on the noncustodial parent.
- The child’s life would change significantly due to the move, either negatively or favorably.
Consult an experienced family lawyer in your state for further details on changing child custody arrangements.