When life changes, child custody needs may also change. For that reason, parents should be familiar with when they may want to consider requesting a child custody modification and when it may be possible to do so.
When to request a child custody modification
There are several situations during which parents may want to request a modification of their child custody arrangement.
- If the child is in danger: Child custody may be modified if the child is in immediate danger in their current environment. The family law court may consider any domestic violence and other factors when making their decision.
- If the child’s parent has relocated: A child custody modification may be possible if the child’s parent is relocating a significant distance. The family law court may consider the parent’s reason for relocating; the amount of interruption any modification will cause for the child; if the move makes the current visitation schedule impossible or impractical; and if the parents have communicated concerning a way to rework the visitation schedule.
- If the visitation schedule has been ignored: If one of the parents is ignoring the visitation schedule, the family law court may consider a modification to the child custody arrangement. The family law court will consider factors including the parenting plan agreement between the parents; communication between the parents; and reasons why the visitation schedule has been ignored.
- If the custodial parent die: If the custodial parent of the child dies, the family law court will look at a at a variety of factors to determine the best interests of the child and the best child custody arrangement for them. Typically, the initial preference will be for the child to live with the non-custodial parent.
Decisions are based on the best interests of the child
Child custody decisions are based on what is in the best interests of the child and the family law court will use that standard as their primary concern when determining child custody and deciding on child custody requests. Based on a significant change in circumstances, or other situations and factors, child custody may be modified which is a process it is useful for parents to be familiar with.