Once a child custody order is issued by a judge, it is final and legally binding. Still, this does not mean they are set in stone. It is possible to modify child custody orders, but the parent requesting the modification must show two things. They must prove there has been a substantial change of circumstances that affect the welfare of the child, and they must show that the modification is in the best interests of the child.
When a parent can prove the two necessary elements of their case, a judge may modify a custody order. However, there are some situations that are more common than others in child custody modifications. Our Grand Rapids family law attorney outlines these below.
There are times when a parent wants to move with the child. This scenario will not always warrant a child custody modification, but there are times when it can. Here too, parents requesting a modification must prove certain aspects of their case. When a non-custodial parent is requesting the change, they must show that the move would place a major burden on them and make the current custody arrangement difficult to follow.
The parent requesting the modification must also show the relocation would have a substantial impact on the child’s life in a way that is negative or positive. Whether the impact on the child is negative or positive will depend on which parent is requesting the modification.
Child custody orders are legally binding, but that does not mean everyone always complies with them. If one parent can show through clear and convincing evidence that the non-compliance is negatively affecting the child, they can seek a modification. At the same time, they can also ask the court to find the non-compliant parent in contempt of court.
Not all custody arrangements will work during every stage of a child’s life. What worked for a toddler may no longer be appropriate when the child is in high school. The needs of a child may also change. For example, a child may develop a physical disorder of which one parent is better suited to care for. In these cases, either of the parents can petition the court for a modification.
Sometimes, a parent’s life also changes, and that requires a modification. These changes can be either positive or negative. For example, a parent may take a new job that causes them to work more, so they are unable to care for their child in the way they once did. Or, a parent may have struggled with a substance abuse problem but can now show they have successfully received treatment. These are just two scenarios that may require a child custody modification.
The most compelling reason to modify a child custody order is when the child is in danger. A parent may become abusive or develop a substance abuse problem that places the child at risk. When a parent can show the current arrangement actually places the child in danger, that is a very good reason to modify custody.
You can modify child custody orders, but doing so is never easy. At Van Den Heuvel Law Office, our Grand Rapids family lawyers have the necessary experience to help you petition the court and give you the best chance of a positive outcome. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a consultation so we can review your case.
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