How Child Custody And Support Can Be Changed

Once you and your spouse agree to arrangements for your minor children, they become part of a permanent legal record and filed with the court. You should know, however, that unlike other provisions in your divorce decree, such as the division of property and debts, anything that pertains to minor children can always be altered. Read on for more information about altering your child custody and support arrangements.

The needs of the child are always the foremost consideration for the courts. For the courts to consider changes in your agreement, a substantial change must have occurred to affect your child. There are several situations that could warrant the court to reopen your divorce agreement such as:

  • The remarriage of one parent, thereby creating a more stable living situation for the child.
  • The age of the child. Some states allow children of a certain age to decide who they want to live with.
  • Dramatic increase or decrease in the income of a parent, prompting an adjustment of child support payments.
  • A long-distance move. The court will consider the needs of the child versus the needs of the non-custodial parent. Showing that the child will have improved educational, extra-curricular, and social opportunities by moving could sway the judge.
  • A parent's drug or alcohol abuse or domestic violence has caused a child's living conditions to become unsafe.
  • One parent is not following the visitation rules and is denying one parent visitation.
  • Death or incapacitation of the custodial parent.

Modifying the Agreement

The agreement can be modified in two ways:

1.  Both parents agree to a change. In this instance, one of the parents can have an attorney draw up a court order to file with the court. Usually the judge will simply sign it, since both parents are in agreement. However, keeping the best interest of the child in mind, the judge will sometimes interview a child, especially older children, before approving the order.

2.  If the parents cannot agree, must file a petition for a hearing, where testimony will be heard about the matter. Changing child custody is a major legal move, and you should expect to be prepared to prove your case with witnesses, expert testimony and official reports. In some states, contested child custody issues will result in a formal trial.

If you and your ex-spouse can come to an agreement while keeping the best interest of your child in mind, you can save time, money and the stress of going back to court. You will need the expertise of a family law attorney to give youmore information about the motions and orders and to be by your side if you do need to take this issue to court.

About Me

The Internet Makes Learning about Law Easier than Ever

Unlike many children growing up today, I am old enough to remember what life was like before the internet became popular! Many years ago, I ended up in a messy legal situation that stemmed from a simple misunderstanding. It turned out that I actually did not break the law, and finding that out in court was a great relief! While I had a great lawyer who helped me during that time, reading some legal information for myself about the laws surrounding my incident could have greatly eased my worries during the stressful time. I have since dedicated myself to learning more about the law, so I never have to deal with a legal mess again. I thought I would make a blog to share some legal knowledge I have acquired along with some general legal tips. I hope I can help many people!

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