When a couple that shares minor children divorces or separates, all kinds of custody arrangements are possible — whether that means sharing custody more-or-less equally or one parent having primary physical custody of the children while the other has visitation.
However, it is important to understand that a child custody order is never permanent. Subject to a number of factors, either parent may petition the court to review and modify an existing order. Here are two questions that may help you determine whether custody modification is a good idea.
Have the child’s needs changed?
As children grow, it goes without saying that their physical, emotional and developmental needs are bound to change. As such, it is not uncommon for a child to need a change in environment at different phases of their growth.
For instance, a teenager who is passionate about playing football may need to spend more time with a parent who lives in a school district with a strong athletic program to excel in their hobby. In this case, modifying the existing custody order so they may spend more time with that parent during the school year does make perfect sense.
Is the other parent abusing the existing custody order?
A custody arrangement is a binding order that must be respected by both parties. However, it is not uncommon for one parent to disregard a court-sanction custody arrangement. Some of the actions that may amount to a violation of the custody order include denying visitation, failing to return the child or alienating the child from the other parent. If these happen, the affected parent may have a compelling reason to petition the court for custody modification.
Not many things are as contentious as child custody disputes. Find out how you can file a successful custody modification petition if the existing arrangement does not seem to be working for your child.