A child custody dispute can quickly become heated. You and your child’s other parent may each think you know what’s best for your kid, which can cause disagreements over everything from discipline to schooling and religious upbringing. But you might breathe a sigh of relief once the initial child custody determination is made.
This relief can be short-lived, though, as life changes may leave you wondering if seeking a custody modification is warranted.
In fact, sometimes a custody modification is the only way to keep your child safe and preserve your relationship with them. Before taking action to modify an existing order, though, you need to make sure that you’re able to articulate what sort of substantial change of circumstances exist, as that’s what the court is going to be looking for before it’ll modify the existing arrangement.
What situations tend to support a modification request?
There are a lot of issues that may warrant a child custody modification. But the analysis is unique to each child and family. That said, let’s look at some of the most common reasons why people successfully seek modification:
- Exposure to parental substance abuse: If your child is exposed to drug or alcohol abuse engaged in by the other parent, then they can be put at extreme risk. They might be more susceptible to abuse or neglect, and they may develop schooling and behavioral issues.
- Exposure to domestic violence: Violence in the other parent’s household can put your child in harm’s way. They might end up getting caught up in the middle of a dispute turned physical, and they may develop aggressive behaviors based on what they see in that household.
- Declining health: The other parent’s physical and mental health is going to be important to their ability to adequately care for the child. If they develop a medical condition that limits them in some fashion, then a modification may be warranted to ensure that your child is adequately cared for.
- Financial woes: It’s expensive to raise a child. If the custodial parent loses their job or is dealing with other unexpected expenses, such as those tied to obtaining extensive medical care, then they might not be in a position to properly care for the child.
- Alienation: Some parents try to manipulate their children in hopes of creating a divide between the child and the other parent. This is known as parental alienation, and it can cause psychological harm to your child. It can also significantly damage your relationship with your child. If you can show that alienation is occurring, then you might be able to successfully demonstrate that a modification is warranted.
- Parental relocation: If the other parent is relocating, then a modification might be justified. This is especially true if the relocating parent has failed to show that the move would support the child’s best interests. One of these locations, if allowed to occur, could rip your child from their well-established social network, their schooling, and their other family members.
Do you need help protecting your child’s best interests?
The actions taken today will shape your child’s future. That’s why there’s a sense of urgency when it comes to modifying a custody order to ensure that your child’s safety and well-being are protected.
But proving that a custody modification is appropriate can be stressful. That’s why you might want to research the process more fully to determine how to best build your case and find the support that you need.