If you think the time that your child spends with their other parent is harmful, then now is the time to consider seeking custody modification.
Under the law, you’re justified in seeking a custody change, which could include a shift in physical custody or a change in parenting time, when there’s been a material change in circumstances and a modification of the existing custody order is in the child’s best interests.
What constitutes a material change in circumstances? That’s going to depend on the facts at hand, but there are some common situations that tend to warrant a change in custody. Let’s take a closer look at some of them.
Circumstances that tend to warrant a custody modification
There are many situations that warrant a change in custody. Here are some of the most common, some of which might be applicable in your case:
- Substance abuse: Drug and alcohol abuse can pose a threat to your child and render a parent unable to meet their obligations. If your child is exposed to parental substance abuse, then they could exhibit behavioral problems, poor school performance, and mental health issues like anxiety and depression. So, if your child is being exposed to parental substance abuse, then start gathering evidence to show that abuse and how it’s negatively impacting your child.
- Physical or emotional abuse: Physical, verbal, and emotional abuse can have long-term ramifications for your child, disrupting their development and leading to several behavioral and social issues. In these instances, you need to modify custody to protect your child. You’ll need to prove that the abuse is occurring, though, which can be difficult and may require you to have testimony from someone who observed the abusive behavior.
- Declining physical health: Your child’s other parent must be able to physically care for your child. If they suffer from declining health that suddenly renders them unable to do so, then a modification may be warranted to ensure that your child receives appropriate care.
- Changed financial circumstances: A similar analysis can be conducted when the other parent’s financial positioning changes. The sudden loss of a job can render them unable to meet your child’s needs, thereby justifying a change in the existing custody arrangement.
- The child’s preferences: When your child reaches a certain age, their wishes are taken into consideration when making a child custody determination. A mere change in what they want is probably insufficient on its own to support a modification request, but it can be a supporting factor if you have another justifiable cause for modification.
- Failure to abide by the existing custody order: A demonstrated failure to abide by current custody orders can support a modification request. After all, the other parent’s unwillingness to meet the terms of the existing custody order is indicative of their inability to act in a way that supports your child’s best interests.
- Parental relocation: Depending on the circumstances, one parent’s move can be enough to change a custody order. It’s important to remember that the court is going to analyze how the relocation impacts the child, so you’ll want to focus your arguments here on the child’s best interests.
Be prepared to argue for the child custody modification that’s best for your child
The custody arrangement that’s in place for your child can have a tremendous impact on their future, touching everything from their physical and emotional well-being to their social development and their school performance.
If you’re worried about your current custody order, then now is the time to start assessing whether you have sufficient evidence to modify it in a way that better supports your child’s safety and well-being.