When parents get divorced or when child custody orders are issued as part of paternity actions, the parents often don’t realize that one day, they’re probably going to go back to court to change their existing custody order. In fact, one or both parents can find themselves back in court to modify their child custody order on multiple occasions.
Why do parents head back to court after custody orders are made? It’s because child custody orders are subject to change and the courts know and expect them to be changed eventually. As time passes, the children’s needs, wishes, and activities change, often giving rise to child custody modifications.
Good Reasons to Change Child Custody
There are many “good” and therefore valid reasons to change child custody and the courts recognize this. Examples include new homes, new significant others, new jobs, relocations, domestic violence, substance abuse, children reaching the teen years, and a change in a parent’s physical or mental health. Even parental alienation is a reason for a child custody modification.
Parental alienation is where one parent, often the custodial parent, intentionally badmouths the other parent to the child. If the custodial parent is blocking the noncustodial parent from seeing their children during their court-ordered parenting time, it can actually impact child custody.
Not only can such a parent be held in contempt of court for not letting their ex see their children, but the family court can actually change custody and make the noncustodial parent the child’s primary caregiver and custodial parent.
If you are interested in petitioning the court to modify the existing custody order for any reason, you’ll need to convince the court that changing the order will be in your children’s best interests. If you can do that, the child custody order may be changed so it accommodates your circumstances and your child’s current needs.
To further explore a child custody modification, we invite you to contact our firm directly to meet with an attorney.