In our last post we discussed the two ways in which child custody agreements can be modified. If you and your child’s other parent are unable to negotiate a change and formalize it in a consent decree, you can file a motion in court seeking a custody modification.
This cannot be done for simply any reason. If you are filing the motion to modify the current agreement, you must demonstrate that a “substantial change in circumstances” has occurred and warrants a modification of custody. Today, we’ll discuss some substantial changes that qualify.
Any changes in your co-parent’s household that could put the children in danger or harm them would be a good reason to seek a modification. For instance, you may learn that your former spouse is abusing drugs or alcohol (or has relapsed after previously seeking help for substance abuse). As another example, you may learn that your co-parent has started to become violent or otherwise abusive toward the children.
If your co-parent has experienced a major change in job or working hours, this could warrant a modification of custody as well. For instance, it probably doesn’t make sense for your co-parent to maintain primary custody if he or she has to regularly work overnight shifts and weekends. Minor children need a parent to be there for most of the hours that they are out of school.
Finally, a major relocation could warrant a change in custody. If your ex-spouse decides to move out of town or out of state, you may be able to seek a change in the custody agreement.
Petitioning for a change in custody is not always easy, nor is defending the current custody arrangement if your co-parent files a petition. In either case, the experienced attorneys at Stange Law Firm are prepared to help. To learn more, please visit the modification of child custody page on our website.