When you’re a divorced parent, there are many steps you must take in order to raise your child as best as you can while also balancing duties with your shared parent. While it’s commonly believed that shared parenting simply means that you equally split where your child lives, it also requires you and your ex to jointly make major decisions that affect your child.
Typically, this is done through a written custody agreement. However, don’t think that your original terms cannot be altered as time goes on — especially if you don’t feel like they are still serving you and your child’s best interests.
There are several cases in which you can petition for a modification of your child custody agreement.
Reasons to Modify Your Custody Agreement
You Believe Your Child is in Danger
The safety and wellbeing of your child is always the court’s top priority, so if you’re able to provide evidence that they are in danger by being in the custody of your shared parent, you may be able to petition for a change of custody. Danger can be presented to your child in a number of ways, and the court will take these factors into account when determining a new custody agreement.
This can apply to either violence being inflicted on your child or if there is violence between members of the shared parent’s household, making the environment unsafe for your child.
Child Voices Concerns of Violence
Even if you have not seen evidence of violence, your child may ultimately voice their concern and refuse to remain in their other parent’s home.
This may apply if your shared parent is unable or unwilling to provide the proper safety measures for your child or if Child Protective Services has had to be called to protect the child.
One or Both Parents is Relocating
While it may be easy to share custody of your child when you and your shared parent live in the same area, the same cannot be said when one of you moves farther away. In cases of relocation, you will likely have to readjust not only your custody agreement but also your visitation schedule in order to satisfy both parents’ desire to see their child.
When petitioning for a change in custody based on relocation, the court will take several factors into account, such as:
Why One Parent is Relocating: Is it for a job opportunity or to create distance from their shared parent?
How Will Your Visitation Schedule Be Affected: Will the new distance make the current schedule impossible to accommodate, and have measures been taken to work towards a new schedule?
How Will the Child’s Life Be Affected: Will this majorly affect their schooling, after-school activities, etc.?
One Parent Doesn’t Follow the Existing Arrangement
Custody arrangements are only successful when both parties follow them as agreed. Unfortunately, there are plenty of instances in which one parent does not follow the arrangement. For example, if your shared parent is:
Attempting to keep your child longer than arranged
Missing scheduled visitation
Refusing to keep you updated on any out-of-town trips
You’ll want to gather evidence that the other parent is violating the existing agreement — such as dates of the violation and any written correspondence between the two of you — so you can present it to that court and petition for a change of custody.
Approaching Changes in Child Custody
When you’re planning on approaching the court for a modification of your child custody agreement, you’ll want to notify your shared parent first. This can help avoid additional tension, and, if you both agree on the changes, it can make the modification process go more smoothly. After this, you’ll want to file your petition for modification and gather your materials for court.
Since petitioning for a change can often be stressful and complex, it’s essential to have experienced legal counsel on your side to help guide you through the process.
Serving Clients With High-Quality Legal Representation
Friedman & Mirman Co., L.P.A. in Columbus is committed to providing our clients with top-notch legal negotiation tactics, strong advocacy, effective strategy, and aggressive litigation when appropriate.
Our child custody and shared parenting attorneys stand ready to serve you with tactful negotiating techniques that will help avoid draining, stressful conflicts.
To schedule your consultation, fill out our online contact form or call the office at (614) 412-3943 today.