Download the 7 Most Important Things To Look For In A Family Law Attorney

5 Reasons Why a Judge Might Modify Your Child Custody and Parenting Time Order

5 Reasons Why a Judge Might Modify Your Child Custody and Parenting Time Order

July 6, 2023

By Johnson/Turner Legal

5 Reasons Why a Judge Might Modify Your Child Custody and Parenting Time Order

July 6, 2023

By Johnson/Turner Legal

While it was unpleasant, and you’d never want to go through it again, your divorce is long over, and you’ve been living your best life ever since. The only reason you ever need to see or speak to your ex at this point is to deal with matters of child custody.

But even that is relatively simple. When you divorced, the court created a child custody order that you followed to the best of your ability. You’d do anything for your children — if that means driving them to your ex’s house three nights a week, that is a small sacrifice to make.

But what if the child custody order needs to be modified? What reasons are legitimate to get a judge to make changes, and who should you speak with to make this happen?

If you think there is any reason the order needs to be modified, your first step should be to consult with your child custody lawyer. They can review your specific circumstances and best tell you whether a judge is likely to side with you. In general, though, the following are reasons a judge will typically agree to alter a child custody order.

1. Child Abuse

If you have any reason to suspect that your ex-spouse, or someone associated with them, is abusing your child, you should act immediately. Some typical signs of child abuse are:

  • Unexplained bruises
  • Skittishness around adults
  • Sudden personality changes
  • A significant drop in grades

The court considers signs of child abuse to be an emergency. It will typically act immediately to separate parent and child until the allegations can be fully investigated. If your suspicions are correct, your ex-spouse will likely lose all custody and be only allowed limited, court-chaperoned visitation.

2. Failure to Comply with the Current Custody and Parenting Time Order

If your ex-partner isn’t obeying the custody order, you should inform your child custody lawyer immediately. They will investigate to determine whether there is a pattern of custody order violation.

When a pattern exists, you can request that the court enforce or modify the order. Typically, the court will choose the option that is the least intrusive to the children affected by the custody order.

3. Your Circumstances Have Changed

Imagine, for example, that when you were first divorced, you needed to care for your aging mother. Sadly, the extra time you spent caring for her took away from your ability to spend time with your children. Reasonably, the courts might have given primary custody to your ex-spouse under those circumstances.

However, your mother recently passed away, and now you have a lot more free time. This change in circumstances represents a legitimate reason to request a judge to modify the parenting time order.

Any significant change in circumstances that increases or decreases your ability to directly care for your children can be justification for an alteration to the custody and/or parenting time order. Typically, it is best to advise the court as soon as possible when your circumstances change.

4. Preferences of a Child as They Age

Older teens are usually given deference by the courts. If your teen has a clear preference regarding which parent they want to live with or how much time they want to spend away from their primary residence, the court is likely to take their opinion into consideration when considering a modification to the custody and parenting time order.

5. Negotiated Change with Your Ex-Spouse

If the relationship with your ex-spouse is good enough, you may mutually agree to changes in the custody arrangement as the years pass. Perhaps your child has a hobby that would make it better to spend certain days with you, or maybe one of you remarried, and a new custody arrangement would work better for everyone.

Regardless, if you can both agree to changes, you should consult with your respective child custody lawyers. They will ensure that the new plan is legal and then let them present the changes to the court. Typically, if you file a Stipulation and Order to Modify Custody and Parenting Time, a judge will support the changes you request.

Book a Guidance Call

The happiness of your children is the most important thing in your life. If you need to change a custody agreement to improve that happiness, contact us today to book a guidance call with an experienced child custody lawyer.


Related Posts