Specific laws and procedures govern child custody issues. When parents agree to modify an existing custody order, the process is fairly simple. Greater difficulty arises, however, when parents do not agree to proposed changes.
In all custody cases, the overlying concern is the best interest of the child. To have your request granted by the court, you must be able to demonstrate that the order you seek or the modifications you request will benefit the child and serve his/her best interests.
Depending on the state where the custody order originates, there may be a minimum period of time that must pass before a modification can be pursued. Even if your state does not have a specific waiting period, courts are often wary of requests to modify in cases where an order has been in effect for only a short amount of time.
Reason For Change
If your situation does meet the requirements for modification, you will need a good reason to justify the requested changes. In order for any modification request to be considered by the court, the change must meet the standard of a material change in circumstances and this standard must be shown.
The material change in circumstances standard allows consideration of a broad array of evidence. Examples of evidence that may be meet this standard would include a long-distance move, change in living conditions, issues with the child's development, and many other situations.
Requested Change & Custody Order
If a material change in circumstances has been shown to the court, the parent requesting modification must also show that the requested change is in the best interest of the child and requires presentation of evidence to support that claim. Family law attorneys will be familiar with the types of evidence that can be used to demonstrate the best interest standard.
Receiving a custody order or modification of a custody order requires compliance with specific rules and procedures. Typically it includes filing papers that contain specific information and adhere to formatting rules. Compliance with these procedures and rules can be overwhelming for those who are unfamiliar with the process.
An experienced family law attorney will be able to advise you about the time restraints on custody modifications. Be sure to consult with an attorney and seek out representation to assist you with throughout process in order to achieve a successful change request.