The court understands that life is ever-changing and that custody orders occasionally need to be modified to accommodate them and to ensure that a child’s best interests continue to be protected. If you believe that your current custody arrangement is not in the best interests of your child, you need to consult with a skilled family law attorney to find out if you have a viable reason for seeking a child custody modification.
Reasons to Seek a Change of Custody
Custody orders cannot be changed simply because you are no longer happy with the current arrangement. Any modifications made must be done to better serve your child’s best interests and, since the court favors stability in a child’s life, the changes must be substantial to warrant the modification. Below are some common reasons for seeking a child custody modification:
- The other parent has a substance abuse problem
- The other parent has committed acts of domestic violence
- The other parent’s home environment is no longer stable
- The other parent developed a severe medical condition
- The other parent wants to move away with the child
- The child is over the age of 12 and is requesting a change
- The other parent abandoned or neglects the child
Other substantial changes that might be considered in a child modification case include a remarriage, the loss of a job, criminal conduct, or a change in lifestyle. While a judge would be willing to hear the request of a 12-year-old who has an interest in spending more time with the other parent, it is not guaranteed the child’s request will be granted, unless it truly serves his or her best interests.
How Does the Court Determine a Child’s Best Interests?
When it comes to determining a child’s best interests in a child custody modification case, the court will consider the following factors:
- The maintenance of stability in a child’s life
- The respective home environments of both parents
- The length of the current arrangement
- The fitness of each parent and past performance
- The willingness of each parent to encourage a healthy relationship between the child and the other parent
Do I Have to Go to Court to Modify My Custody Order?
Even if you and your co-parent agree on making changes to your current custody order, it is important to have this done through formal channels. If you make an informal arrangement, the other parent can change his or her mind at any time and you would have no means of enforcing the agreed upon arrangement. Therefore, it is best to go to court and ensure that the arrangement is legally binding. This will protect your rights in the event that the other parent does not abide by the new terms.
Child Custody Attorney in Westchester County
At the Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC, our legal team in Westchester County understands the sensitivity of child custody issues and how important it is for your family to resolve your case as quickly and amicably as possible. If you are in need of a child custody modification, reach out to one of our compassionate attorneys for the guidance you need.
Call our office today at (845) 605-4330 to schedule your free confidential consultation with a knowledgeable family law attorney.