When a child custody agreement is set in place, the court does so with
the full knowledge that the situation could change. Perhaps the child's mother
got a job with new hours and can no longer commit to weekend visitations, or
the child signed up for a program on the nights that the father is supposed to
pick him up. It's because of the dynamic nature of parenting that each party
has rights to modify the custody agreement.
Child custody agreements are reached based on what the court decides is
best for the interest of the child. There are many circumstances in which it
would be perfectly acceptable to propose a modification to the custody order.
It's simply important for parents to keep in mind the fact that the process
always goes more easily when the former spouses can reach an agreement between
themselves before getting the court involved. When both parties support the
idea of the changes, it's a mere matter of filling out paperwork.
However, there are always cases in which there is bad blood between
ex-spouses, and they may not be able to reach an agreement between themselves.
It is in these cases – most commonly, the ones in which the proposed change
will greatly affect the current situation – that the parents should prepare to
go to court. There are many family lawyers, such as Marshall
Davis Brown, that can help walk either party through the process and advise them
about how to reach a compromise in their favor, but there are a few good things
to know beforehand.
The parent who is proposing the changes must be able
to prove that the new situation will be most beneficial to the child. This may
involve proving that the current situation is detrimental to the child's
lifestyle. This could be done through showing that the parent with less custody
is already the main provider for the child, or by showing that the other parent
is unfit to have custody. There is also the option to get an emergency
modification if the child appears to be in danger in the current situation. In
any case, modification should only be done when it's in the best interest in
the child; though it's an emotional matter to have to surrender as much custody
as you would like, it's important to be selfless in the decision.
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