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Under what circumstances can you change custody arrangements?

| Nov 17, 2020 | Family Law

As you go through divorce, if you have children, you’ll focus a lot of attention on child custody, your parenting plan and visitation schedule (and that’s just the start).

While the custody arrangements you agreed to during your divorce may work for a while, there could come a time when you need to make a change. Here are some of the circumstances that can result in the alteration of your custody arrangement:

  • Physical relocation: For example, if the custodial parent moves out of state, the non-custodial parent can file an order to modify the arrangement. Moving alone doesn’t always result in a change, but it could come into play if the relocation will affect your children.
  • Refusal to follow the terms and conditions of the custody arrangement: Both you and the other parent are required by law to follow your custody order. If your ex-spouse is neglecting to do so, regardless of the reason, it’s important that you take steps to protect your legal rights. This could lead you to file a petition to modify the order that’s in place.
  • Your children are going through changes: As your children develop, their life is likely to change. This can lead to a situation in which one parent is better suited to care for them. For example, the custody arrangement that works when your children are toddlers may no longer suit them upon reaching middle school.
  • The children are in danger: There’s nothing more important than the safety and well-being of your children. If they’re in danger, perhaps because your ex-spouse is abusing alcohol or drugs, it’s critical to take steps to protect them. Requesting a modification of the custody order is a good place to start. It will cause tension between you and your ex, but it’s a necessary step.

These are just a few of the most common circumstances in which to consider requesting a change to your custody arrangements.

Don’t trick yourself into thinking that the original custody arrangement is the one that you have to live with until your children reach age 18. If you need to take action, don’t hesitate to file a modification and see what happens.