You worked hard in your initial child custody dispute to obtain the outcome that you thought was best for your child. And when all was said and done, you might have felt like you and your child’s other parent, or the court, made the decision that was right at the time.
But things change, and what you thought was best for your child may now be putting him or her at risk. Although that can be extraordinarily stressful, you should take comfort knowing that the law allows you to seek a custody modification if you believe that doing so is in your child’s best interests.
What circumstances warrant seeking a custody modification?
There are a lot of situations that can give rise to a child custody modification. But they’re always going to relate back to the best interests factors that are identified by state law. Therefore, any of the following may be sufficient for you to seek modification in your case:
- Evidence that your child’s other parent is engaging in substance abuse
- Indications that the child’s other parent is being physically, emotionally or verbally abusive to the child
- Evidence that your child’s other parent is no longer able to financially support your child
- Demonstration that the other parent’s physical or mental condition renders them unable to appropriately care for the child
- Statements made by your child that he or she no longer wants to spend time with the other parent, especially if those statements are based on some sort of fear or lack of bond with the other parent
- Your child has been exposed to domestic violence in the other parent’s home
- The other parent has been arrested and charged with a criminal offense
- Your child’s other parent has been interfering with the custody arrangement that’s in place, perhaps by withholding the child from you or otherwise denying you contact with the child
There are other potential justifications. The law allows the court to consider any other factors that it deems necessary to make an appropriate custody determination that is in the child’s best interests.
Proving your case
As you work to present your request for modification, you’re going to need evidence in order to convince the judge that your motion should be granted. Therefore, you may want to gather as much information as you can from:
- Police reports
- Mental health professionals who provide services to your child and your child’s other parent
- Financial records
- Text, email, and phone communications with the other parent
- Statements from your child and other witnesses
Hopefully this evidence will position you for a successful modification, but don’t forget to also anticipate the evidence that the other parent is likely to present in opposition to your request. By doing so, you can prepare effective counterarguments that protect your request and your position.
Advocating for what is best for your child
In the end, seeking a custody modification is about doing what is right for your child. That can be a stressful thought, especially if you’re worried about what losing your argument will mean for your kid. But that concern should motivate you to build the most thorough and aggressive legal arguments possible.