When a couple first gets divorced, they may feel relieved that process is over and look forward to moving on with their lives. Divorcing couples with children may be especially happy to have a child custody order is in place so that their child can get used to a routine and regain a sense of stability. However, as the years go by, parents may discover that the original custody arrangement no longer works for their family and want to make changes to the order. In such cases, one or both parents may choose to file for a modification of the child custody order.
Reasons for modifying a custody order
If you and your ex do not agree on the modification, you will need to petition the court to make the change. However, courts generally will not approve modification requests if they are based on minor disagreements between exes or other frivolous reasons. Before you file for modification, you will want to make sure that you have a valid reason or significant change in circumstances for requesting the change. Some valid reasons may include:
- Protecting the best interest of the child – Family courts prioritize the wellbeing of the child when making child custody decisions. Some children may have trouble adjusting to the regular travel back and forth between houses. If you notice your child is struggling with the current custody arrangement, a modification may be warranted.
- Protecting the child from danger – As previously mentioned, the best interest of the child is always a priority. If you feel your child is in danger due to physical abuse and/or drug/alcohol abuse by one parent or someone in their household, you may file for modification.
- Parental relocation – In some cases, one parent may want to move out of town for a new job opportunity or personal reasons, and a custody modification may be warranted. The court may consider whether the move will be in the best interest of the child before approving the relocation.
Filing for modification
In order to request a modification, you will need to make sure you fill out a petition for modification of a custody order and file it with the court. If the change is not agreed to by your ex, you may have to attend a hearing to explain why the proposed modification will serve in your child’s best interest. A family law attorney can help you with this process to give you the best chance at having your modification request granted.