As your children grow up, you can expect life and your custody needs to change. After all, custody orders designed to meet their needs when your children won’t fit nearly as well for teenagers. Other life changes, such as health conditions, job changes, and remarriages, can make it necessary to modify your child custody arrangements. So what do you need to know to make these changeslegally enforceable? Let’s take a closer look at the modification process for your child custody orders.
When Can I Modify Custody Arrangements?
If you guessed that you can’t simply modify arrangements on a whim, you’ve guessed right. You will need to demonstrate that there is a need to change the custody arrangement, since the court is loath to change custody arrangements of happy, well-adjusted children. Below are some of the reasons that you may be able to modify your custody arrangements:
- Child’s best interests: Your children are stressed by their new living situation, and you want to reduce the amount of traveling they have to do so they can feel more stable. If the current agreement isn’t working out for your child, the court is likely to modify your arrangements.
- Danger to your child: If you feel that your child may be in danger from your co-parent, their family, housemates, or partners, or you have proof of abuse or neglect occurring, you can file a petition to modify your custody orders and prevent harm to your child.
- Relocation: If you need to move out of the area for work, you may need to modify your custody orders. This is especially important if you’re moving out of state.
- You are unable to meet your child’s needs: If you are trying to balance a fulltime job and parenting, or you’ve become unemployed and find it difficult to support your child, you may look to modify their custody schedule to fit their needs better.
- One parent isn’t cooperating: If your co-parent is supposed to have joint custody, but frequently fails to meet their end of the arrangements, you may be able to request a modification that ensures your child has the stability they need.
- One parent passes away: If your co-parent passes away, and you don’t want their spouse or another to raise your child, you can seek to gain full custody of your child. This is especially important for non-custodial parents.
How Do I Modify My Custody Orders?
The best option, if it is possible, is to begin by discussing the changes with your child’s other parent. If you are on good terms and can negotiate the changes on your own or with the help of a mediator, you will be able to change your custody orders more quickly and with less stress. If you develop a solution together, you will still need to file a modification petition, but you will be able to submit your proposal to be approved by the judge.
If you cannot work with your child’s other parent for some reason, your first step would be to file a petition for modification. Once this is done, you will be scheduled for a court date, where you will have to provide the judge with a good reason to make changes to your child’s custody orders. The judge will then make the necessary changes, and you will receive new court orders to reflect them. When determining the new orders, the judge will determine what they feel would be best for the child, and base any custody decisions off that.
Petitioning for a modification to your child custody arrangements can be difficult for many families. Having an experienced family lawattorney on your side can make the process easier, since you can rely on their insight and knowledge to simplify your case wherever possible. When you work with our team at Ilkhanoff & Silverstein, you can feel confident that we will support your family every step of the way. Schedule a consultation with our York child custody attorneys to learn more about your case.
Contact our firm online, or call (717) 744-0531.