Modifying a child custody order is considerably more challenging than modifying visitation or parenting time. The parent requesting the modification must be prepared to demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances has occurred that warrants the change. Additionally, that parent must also show that the change is in the child’s best interests.
Parents generally find it most helpful to work with an experienced child custody lawyer when petitioning the court for a modification. At Tessie D. Edwards & Associates, we know the standard of proof required by the court and will fight to make your best case for modification of custody.
When the Custodial Parent Wants to Move
In the past, when a parent with custody elected to move, the court presumed that the move would be in a child’s best interest. Now that presumption is gone.
If a custodial parent wants to relocate a significant distance from the non-custodial, the other parent automatically has grounds to request a modification of custody. The court must make a decision from a neutral stance, evaluating a number of factors to determine whether the child’s best interest would be served by moving with one parent or staying with the non-custodial with a change in custody.
Other Significant Changes That Could Justify a Change in Custody
Judges often have considerable discretion in deciding whether circumstances have changed enough to reconsider custody arrangements. Many times, the skill and persuasiveness used to present an argument in favor of change can make a difference in whether a court agrees to consider modifying custody.
Examples of changes that could provide grounds to consider a custody modification include:
- Drop in school performance
- Inability to provide for the child’s health care needs
- Inability to provide stability for the child
- One parent becoming unfit or unable to provide care
- Intentional parental alienation
- Military deployment (temporary modification)
In addition, if a child aged 14 or older requests a change in their custody, that is considered grounds for reconsideration of custody.
Decisions Will Be Based on the Child’s Best Interests
Getting a court to agree to consider modifying custody is only half the battle. The next crucial step is to show why the change in custody requested is in the child’s best interests.
An experienced child custody lawyer understands that to succeed in the case, it is important to frame issues from the child’s perspective rather than that of the parents. When considering different custody arrangements, the court might look at factors such as the proximity to other family members or siblings, the ability to maintain existing relationships and continue existing activities, and how active each parent has been in supporting the child emotionally.
Contact a Dedicated Custody Modification Lawyer in Atlanta
At Tessie D. Edwards & Associates, we know that your relationship with your child is one of the most important facets of your life. Whether you want to request a change in custody or you need to demonstrate why existing arrangements should remain in place, we have the experience to make your best case in court and achieve the outcome that is best for your family. Contact us today for a confidential consultation to learn how we could help reach your goals in your custody modification case.