There are numerous reasons why a parent may need to alter their child custody arrangement. Explore four common reasons judges alter child custody agreements.
While child custody arrangements are legally binding, they aren’t necessarily set in stone. Judges will modify existing orders for reasons ranging from a parent being unable to adhere to the agreement to a change in the child’s best interest. Making alterations based on what’s best for your child helps them flourish as they grow. Below, we’ll explain why a judge may alter your child custody agreement.
A Parent Can’t Adhere to the Agreement
Sometimes, life circumstances change in ways that make it impossible for a parent to stick to the current custody agreement. For instance, if you or your ex need to relocate across the state or country, the existing custody agreement may no longer be feasible. In such cases, judges can establish a new custody agreement or visitation schedule that best suits the circumstances.
Similarly, if a parent becomes severely ill or requires hospitalization, they may be unable to care for their child as per the agreement. Courts will evaluate each situation individually and determine the most suitable solution based on the case’s specifics.
Talk with your ex about the circumstances and propose changes before filing a court case. This way, you two can come up with the ideal solution to make things go more smoothly.
A Parent Neglects Their Responsibilities
There’s a major difference between being unable to care for your kids and willingly not caring for them, and unfortunately, some parents fall into that second category. This could involve failing to pick up the children as scheduled or failing to make child support payments.
Violating an agreement can lead to a contempt of court charge. This can lead to changes in custody plus fines or jail time for the guilty party.
An Important Note
All accusations of negligence or abuse must be honest. False accusations can severely backfire and adversely affect the accuser’s custody rights.
The Child Isn’t Safe
If you can prove that your child is in physical or emotional danger with the other parent, courts will reevaluate the custody agreement. In these circumstances, you need evidence to support your custody modification case. Work with an attorney to compile documents as soon as possible to get your child to a safe environment.
The Child’s Best Interest Changes
The key determinant in any child custody decision is the child’s best interests. These interests can change over time due to various factors. As children grow older, they may prefer spending more time with one parent due to school commitments or extracurricular activities. In some states, judges speak directly with the child to inquire about their relationship with each parent to determine the ideal custody arrangement.
Although there are numerous reasons a judge may alter your child custody agreement, remember that your child’s best interest always comes first. As a parent, you must continually prioritize your child’s well-being and advocate for their best interests during any custody proceedings.