If you find yourself in a situation where you need to modify your child custody order, you may be wondering if it is possible. The answer is yes – but only under certain circumstances. Sometimes, the original child custody agreement no longer works for everyone involved. Each situation is unique, and therefore it’s recommended to speak with an attorney to determine if modification is possible in your case.
Here are five acceptable reasons for modifying a child custody order:
1. Change in Work Schedule
Attorney Avigayil Pearlman notes that if a change in work schedule impacts your visitation or custody rights, you may file a motion to modify your custody agreement. For instance, a modification may be necessary if one of the parents gets a new job or promotion that requires a different work schedule. The new schedule may not work with the current arrangement, and it is in the child’s best interest to have a consistent parenting schedule.
A change in work schedule may also mean that a parent works nights instead of daytime. That implies the parent would not be able to take the child to school or help with homework in the evenings.
2. Change in Residence
If one of the parents moves to a new home that is further away from the other parent, it may be necessary to modify the custody agreement. A change in residence may also necessitate a change in the custody arrangement if one of the parents moves out of state. In these cases, modifying the custody agreement ensures that both parents still have access to the child.
If you’re in the custody of your child and planning to move, it’s important to give the other parent as much notice as possible. Also, try to agree on a new custody arrangement before making any changes. Moving can impact custody arrangements, child visitation schedules, and even child support payments. So consider all the potential changes before making a decision.
3. Change in Child’s Needs and Schedule
As children grow older, their needs change. A modification may be necessary if the original custody agreement no longer meets the child’s needs. For example, a child who originally needed a lot of supervision may now be able to spend more time with the other parent. A modification may also be necessary to accommodate a child’s new school schedule or extracurricular activities.
What matters most is that the new arrangement is still in the child’s best interests. For example, if a child is now spending more time with the other parent, that parent should be able to provide more care and supervision than before. This is not a light decision as one of the parents is often forced to rearrange their work schedule and daily lifestyle, which can be difficult.
4. Change in Parent’s Availability
If one of the parents becomes unavailable to care for the child due to illness or deployment, a modification may be necessary. The other parent may need to take on additional responsibilities, or the child may need to be placed in the care of a relative or friend. For instance, in cases where a parent in the custody of a child has a major illness that impacts their ability to care for the child, that can warrant a custody modification.
Another common reason for changing a custody order is when one parent gets deployed or they need to be away for an extended time, such as for work or school. In these cases, it’s often in the child’s best interest to remain with the other parent or another trusted relative. If the deployment is temporary, once the parent returns, they can resume their normal custody arrangement.
5. Change in Family Dynamic
If there is a change in the family dynamic, such as a new marriage or the birth of a baby, a modification may be necessary. With a new baby in the picture, the custodial parent may need help caring for the child, and a modification can give them that assistance.
Some of these changes come about gradually and can make it difficult for a parent to care for their child. Even modification can be beneficial, it should be approached with caution. Anytime there is a change in custody, there is potential for conflict. Parents should try to work together to make the best decision for their child and ensure successful co-parenting.
Consult an Experienced Family Attorney
If you’re considering a custody modification, it’s important to speak with an experienced family law attorney like these Greenwich divorce lawyers. They can help you understand the process and what you need to do to get started. An attorney can also help you negotiate with the other parent and come up with a parenting plan that works for both of you.