When parents work out child custody arrangements, what they agree to may only be appropriate for a certain time or in certain circumstances. As your children grow and as parental situations change, so should your custody plans. Read on to find out what might prompt the need for a change and how to accomplish the needed alterations in your parenting plans.
Parental Issues Arise
Parents may experience life changes that can lead to changes in child custody and visitation. It's important to know, however, that the court is reluctant to change a plan that is working and that benefits the child. For example, if the custodial parent wants to move to another state, that could potentially deprive the other parent of visitation. Even if the non-custodial parent agrees with the move, the parent needing to move could be challenged to convince the judge that the move is in the best interest of the child. Sometimes, however, custody and visitation changes may be necessary to protect a child from bad parental behavior. That might include things like:
- Substance abuse issues.
- Physical, psychological, or sexual abuse.
- Criminal activity and/or incarceration.
- Death or serious illnesses.
- General bad parenting like not seeking medical care for the child, not seeing to the child's education, allowing the child to be dirty, using harsh discipline, and more.
If you are a parent concerned about bad parental behavior, speak to a family law or divorce lawyer and show proof of the allegations.
The Child Asks for a Change
Children of a certain age or level of maturity may be able to bring about changes in their custody or visitation situation in some cases. States vary in how much input minor children have in these arrangements and particularly when changes are requested. If both parents agree with the child on the changes, speak to a lawyer about the need to have the custody or visitation agreement altered. However, if both parents do not agree, the minor may find it tough going. Some children naturally desire to spend more time with the parent that they get along with better. Or they might just want to spend time with a parent that has fewer rules and more of a lax disciplinary style. In some cases, the judge will order that the family undergo an evaluation by an expert to determine what is best for the child.
To find out more about altering child custody and visitation plans, speak to your divorce or child custody attorney.