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What you need to know about modifying a custody arrangement

On Behalf of | Oct 14, 2022 | Custody

Are you worried about your child’s safety and well-being as you are reading this? If so, then you might need to consider whether seeking custody modification is right for you.

It’s easy to have an emotional reaction when you suspect that your child has been subjected to inappropriate care while in the other parent’s care, but it’s important to remember that in order to successfully modify custody or visitation, you’re going to have to have strong evidence showing that your requested change supports your child’s best interests.

What kind of evidence supports a modification request?

Given the best interest standard, there are a lot of situations that can warrant a custody modification request. Here are some of the most common situations that give rise to a motion to modify:

  • Parental substance abuse, exposure to which can leave your child with anxiety, depression, behavioral issues, and poor school performance.
  • Abuse and neglect that can put your child’s physical, emotional, and psychological well-being at risk.
  • Untreated mental health issues that may render your child’s other parent unable to provide your child with safe and appropriate care.
  • Financial changes that impact the ability of your child’s other parent to meet your child’s basic needs.
  • If your child is older, then his or her wishes may be a factor that is taken into consideration when determining whether a modification is warranted.
  • Parental relocation, which can threaten to take your child away from well-established cultural and familial connections.

Although these are common reasons why custody is modified, they are not the only reasons. The law is broad, which gives you a lot of room to argue for an outcome that you think is right for your child.

What does the process look like?

If you want to modify custody, then you’re going to have to file a motion with the court. In that motion, you’ll want to specify what the modification would look like and the outline of your justifications for making the request.

Once you file that motion, the court will set it for a hearing. Leading up to that hearing, you might be able to negotiate resolution with your child’s other parent, but you can’t count on that.

Therefore, you’ll want to start gathering the evidence that you’ll want to present at the modification hearing. This could include police reports, therapist reports, and witness accounts.

You’ll also want to anticipate what the other parent is going to argue at the modification hearing. Don’t be surprised if he or she tries to attack your parenting abilities. To avoid being taken by surprise, then, you’ll also want to make sure that you’re analyzing your parenting abilities and strategically considering how you can counter any arguments that the other parent might bring up.

Once the court hears all of the evidence it will issue a ruling on your motion. Regardless of the outcome, keep in mind that a custody arrangement can always be modified if the facts warrant such a request.

Craft the arguments that you need to protect your child’s best interests

We know that it can be easy to get caught up in the emotions involved in a child custody dispute. But you can’t let that blind you from the legal considerations that the court is going to have to make. That’s why it might be helpful to have an attorney on your side who is experienced in handling these kinds of matters.