Child Custody Agreements: Factors That May Lead to Modification

A gavel and colourful letters regarding child-custody and family-law concept

A child custody agreement is one of the essentials of a divorce or separation agreement. In the past, child custody agreements often favored mothers. The courts, however, now primarily base their decision on a child’s wellbeing. Some of the aspects addressed in a legally enforceable custody agreement are visitation schedules, the type of custody awarded, and the amount to be paid to a custodial parent in child support.

Before reaching an agreement, extensive consultations and background investigations are carried out. There are, however, times when with the help of a child custody attorney based in Salt Lake City, you can get the agreement of your case modified. This can be done at any point after the court approves your child custody agreement provided a child is less than eighteen years and can be requested by either parent. The following are the standard bases for a child custody modification.

Change of a Non-Custodial Parent’s Address

The visitation schedule, if you are a non-custodial parent, will be affected by your address. If you live too far away, the visitation might be far spaced to minimize the travel costs. If, however, you move nearer to the custodial parent, you can petition the court to increase your visitation frequency. You can also request for visits to be scheduled farther apart but include more days if you move some distance away from the custodial parent.

Child’s Preference

You might have gotten your child custody order when your child was too young to understand the circumstances. When the child becomes older and can comprehend his or her parenting arrangement, they may request for more time or even live with a non-custodial parent.

In most cases, the court evaluates child preference as a basis for modification with other circumstances rather than as a sole reason for modifying the arrangement. Some states also have an age limit for which children’s testimonies can apply in child custody cases.

child holding teddy bear while parents are discussing with lawyerChange in a Parent’s Physical or Mental State

In case the custodial or non-custodial parent’s psychological or physical state changes and they can no longer support or care for a child, then it is possible to petition the courts to modify a child custody arrangement. Debilitating illnesses, psychological issues, substance addiction of a parent can be grounds for child custody modification.

Change of a Parent’s Finances

One of the elements that determine the amount of child support is the income of both parents. If the salary of either parent increases or decreases, any party can request the court to modify child support. Even if there is no change in income, a custodial parent can request for a higher child support amount if the child has health or other issues which increase their care needs.

Getting evidence to support your child custody modification petition is only half the battle. You need legal counsel to help you reach your goal. Remember, parenting time is valuable for all parents and children. Hence, most child custody cases are emotionally charged. You might not do much or get a favorable ruling without an attorney’s help. The lawyer can help you win your case in court or alternatively recommend an out-of-court agreement which will be later ratified by the court.

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