After the initial custody judgment is signed, there may be times when you might need to return to the negotiating table or courtroom and modify your custody agreement. These modifications are not undertaken lightly. Divorces are disruptive to all involved, so the courts require the parents to either be in accord regarding the changes or to have very good reasons to ask the court to revisit the matter.
Below are three main reasons why a custody modification may be necessary.
1. There is a safety risk
Your child(ren) could be at risk when in the custody of your co-parent due to the parent’s alcoholism or substance abuse or if there are instances of domestic violence. Also, if their other parent fails to properly supervise the kids, they could be in danger.
2. Noncompliance with the visitation/custody schedule
The court expects both parents to abide by the court order. Sure, situations can arise where one parent asks to swap days due to work or other obligations. Especially around the holidays when extended family comes into town, it can be a reciprocal kindness to allow the kids extra time with their other parent.
But those swapped days are unofficial changes between co-parents working in cohesion to enhance their children’s lives. Sadly, not all co-parents are that reasonable. If your ex refuses to abide by the custody order, gather your evidence to present to the court.
3. One parent wishes to relocate
Always guided by the best interests of the child(ren), family law courts may modify a custody agreement if one parent presents compelling evidence that their kids would be better off in the new environment.
Courts usually consider the impact of the proposed change on the children, e.g., how disruptive it will be to their schooling, religious observation or extracurricular activities.
Should you modify your custody order?
If you feel that you have good cause, it might be possible to get the custody order modified. Also, families may “outgrow” the old order and mutually decide to petition the court to sign off on agreed-upon changes.