When a marriage comes to an end, and there are kids involved, one of the most crucial issues the couple with work on is the children’s living arrangement going forward. Most often, the court encourages an arrangement where parents work out a custody plan that suits everyone while taking the children’s best interests into account.
However, child custody is not always cast in stone. An existing custody arrangement can be modified for a variety of reasons. Here are two questions that can help you determine whether it is time to modify an existing custody order.
Is the custodial parent relocating?
A custodial parent’s relocation to a different city, state or country can impact the existing visitation arrangement. Of course, relocation, in and of itself, cannot be the sole basis for modifying a custody order. Usually, the court will take the following into account when reviewing and modifying a custody order on the basis of the primary custodial parent’s relocation:
- The relocation will subject the noncustodial parent to a greater burden making it difficult for them to follow through with the existing visitation arrangement
- The relocation is likely to impact the child’s wellbeing in some way
Is one parent refusing to follow through with the custody order?
When you filed for a divorce, you ended up with some form of a custody order, either through a mutual agreement or via a court order. This order is binding, and both parents are expected to obey it. If one party is not living up to their obligation to the order, then the affected party may seek a modification. For instance, if your ex is withholding visitation, making crucial life decisions for the child without involving you, failing to return the child in time or alienating you from your child, then you may have grounds for modifying the existing custody order.
Child custody can be a contentious subject during and after the divorce. Knowing your legal options can help you protect your child’s best interests when modifying a custody order.