You can request that a court modify your child custody order when there are significant changes in circumstances in your life or that of your child or co-parent.
Here are some examples of when you may need to do this:
The child’s needs change
If your child’s needs change, resulting in the current custody order being ineffective, you may need to seek a modification. For example, if the child develops a physical, mental or emotional need that the noncustodial parent is best suited to handle.
If the custodial parent wishes to move far away, they might request the court modify the custody order to permit this. The other parent has the right to argue against the child moving or to seek concessions, such as having the child stay with them over the holidays and the other parent covering flight costs.
A long-term change to work schedules
You and the other parent likely considered your work schedules when making the parenting plan. A long-term change to your schedules could require modifying your parenting arrangements. For example, if your new job requires you to travel for weeks at a time.
A change in a parent’s ability to care for the child
If the court declares you the noncustodial parent because of something like a severe health issue or drug addiction, you can request it reconsider its order if you overcome your problems.
You may also seek to modify a child custody order if you feel the custodial parent can no longer care for your child because they develop personal issues.
While courts expect parents to handle minor changes between them, sometimes it’s imperative to return to court to seek a modification of the custody order. Learning more can help you protect your rights and those of your child.