Once you negotiate or litigate your child custody issue, you may find that the ultimate resolution is workable. Sure, you might want more time with your child, but you often have to sacrifice a little bit in order to comply with either your negotiated resolution or the court’s order.
That outcome isn’t set in stone, though. If you find at some point that your child custody arrangement is simply unworkable or has become inappropriate for your child, it’s probably time to seek a child custody modification.
When is it appropriate to seek a custody modification?
Co-parenting arrangements are strained in a lot of families. But is it time to seek a custody modification just because you can’t get along with your child’s other parent? Maybe. Maybe not. It’s going to depend on how the actions in question affect your child’s best interests, as that’s ultimately what the court is going to be looking at when you request a custody modification.
With that said, here are some events that may appropriately trigger a modification request:
- Substance abuse: If your child’s other parent engages in drug or alcohol abuse, it can cause a direct and traumatic impact on your child. Exposure to parental substance abuse can result in your child developing a sense of fear and anxiety, behavioral issues, and they may be at an increased risk of being abused or neglected.
- Mental health issues: A mental health condition, by itself, is not enough to request a custody modification. However, if your child’s other parent is diagnosed with a mental health condition or exhibits symptoms of a mental health condition that directly impacts their ability to adequately care for you child, you have a basis to request modification. This is especially true if your child’s other parent has failed to abide by prescribed treatment for their condition.
- Abuse and neglect: If your child has been subjected to physical, emotional, or verbal abuse, or if they have been neglected in some fashion, you have more than enough justification to seek a modification to your existing child custody order.
- Parental interference: One way that a poor co-parenting relationship can lead to a custody modification is when your child’s other parent interferes with your time with your child. For example, the other parent might not make the child available for your visitation or they may prevent you from having other forms of contact with the child. You may even be kept in the dark about your child’s schooling, extracurricular activities and medical treatments. A court may find that this lack of contact is detrimental to your child’s best interests, which will give it a reason to modify custody in your favor.
Build the strong legal arguments that you need on your side
These are a just some of the circumstances that may warrant seeking a custody modification. Just remember that if you’re going to take legal action, you’re going to need evidence to present to the court to persuade the judge to grant your request.
Therefore, you’ll need to be diligent in building your case. If you’d like assistance in doing that, you might want to consider working closely with a family law attorney who has a track record of successfully arguing custody cases. That means that you’ll be better off if you analyze your representation options so that you can choose the legal team that is best for you.