Your child custody dispute may have been settled a while ago, but there’s a strong chance that you may end up having to revisit your custody arrangement as circumstances change. If you think that a change is necessary to protect your child’s best interests, then you’ll want to file a motion for modification.
But before you do, you need to make sure that you have strong evidence to support your position. But what evidence, exactly, is going to position you for success?
Justifications for seeking a child custody modification
First, you’ll need to think about your justification for seeking modification. There are various ways to seek a custody modification. Here are some of the reasons that may be applicable to your case:
- Exposure to parental substance abuse
- Exposure to domestic violence
- Child abuse or neglect
- The other parent’s unwillingness to abide by a co-parenting arrangement
- A change in the other parent’s physical, mental, or financial position
- A change in your child’s needs
Keep in mind that your argument is going to have to be based on what is in the child’s best interests. Therefore, you’ll have to couch your argument in what is right for your child rather than as some type of punishment for the other parent.
What evidence can you use to support your position?
Depending on the circumstances of your motion to modify, you may be able to turn to several places to gather evidence. You can start by turning to these sources:
- Police reports that may show a pattern of domestic violence or drug-related activity
- Mental health records that may specify the other’s spouse’s stability and ongoing mental health issues
- Your child’s therapy records, which may indicate how your child thinks about spending time with each parent and what he or she prefers
- School records that are indicative of your child’s academic successes or shortcomings while in each parent’s care
- Communications between you and the other parent that demonstrate his or her unwillingness to cooperate with the existing custody order
- Employment records that may show that the other parent is about to face financial hardship that affects his or her ability to care for the child
- Child welfare records that might demonstrate that your child is at risk while in the other parent’s care
- Witnesses who can attest to your bond with your child and how your proposed arrangement will best serve the child’s best interests
There are a lot of ways that you can generate evidence to support your arguments. You can keep detailed notes, ensure that your home remains clean and appropriate, and guarantee that you don’t say anything or post anything on social media that can be misconstrued. Avoid fighting with your child’s other parent and try to be as flexible and dependable as possible.
Do you need an attorney on your side?
Navigating a child custody modification can be difficult, especially when the issue is emotionally charged. But you can work closely with a skilled legal advocate who may be able to help you develop the strong legal arguments that you need on your side. You’ll want to ensure that your approach is comprehensive and aggressive, with full anticipation of how the other side will respond and counter-argue.
We know dealing with all of that can be stressful, but you can alleviate the burden by having an experienced family law attorney assist you with your case. You can learn more about what an attorney can do for you by doing some research and speaking with those attorneys that you think may be a strong advocate for you and your child.