If you’re one of the 36% of U.S. adults who are not married to their child’s other parent, you know that a good child custody arrangement is essential to your child’s well-being. However, since things change frequently, it’s common for a family to outgrow their existing custody arrangement. To make sure your custody agreement works for your current circumstances, you might want to update it any time you encounter one of these situations.
The Child Is Unsafe in One Parent’s Custody
One of the most compelling reasons for a very fast change to child custody is an unsafe environment. If one parent feels that their child is no longer safe with the other parent, they can appeal to the courts for an emergency custody order to get their child out of a dangerous situation. Some of the reasons that the court might change custody include:
- A parent has started abusing drugs or alcohol.
- A parent has been arrested for domestic violence against the child.
- The house a child was staying in was severely damaged in a fire or another incident.
- Law enforcement is currently investigating the parent for a violent crime.
- A parent is refusing to give a child prescribed medications.
One Parent Needs to Move
If a parent decides to move to a different location, it’s worth reconsidering custody. In some cases, parents might want to adjust custody to let their child go to a school in a better district. In other cases, a parent might seek permission to get sole custody and move their child out of state. In all of these discussions, the court will want to closely consider proposed living situations and pick the best option for the child.
A Parent Has Remarried
If a child has a new step-parent and new step-siblings, discussing custody arrangements is a good idea. One parent may be able to get more custody if they can show the other parent’s remarriage means their child is getting bullied by step-family or no longer has their own room to live in.
A Non-custodial Parent Has Improved Their Circumstances
In some cases, a New Jersey family law attorney might seek updated custody arrangements once their client’s life has improved. There are many cases where a parent wasn’t in a good place to care for a child but has worked hard to improve their life and create a safe environment. A parent who now has a safe house and enough money to care for their child can often successfully petition for an update.
A Parent Is Failing to Follow Current Agreements
In cases where one parent consistently fails to follow current agreements, a modification might be necessary. Things like failing to return a child on time or taking the child out of the country without permission can lead to updates. You might also need a modification if one parent is refusing to co-parent or follow the care guidelines mentioned in your parenting plan.
How to Request a Child Custody Modification
Ultimately, there are a lot of different situations where a modification is a good idea. To change your custody arrangement, you’ll need to file a motion with the court. If both parties agree, the change is as simple as submitting some documents. In cases where your child’s other parent does not agree with the change, you’ll need to have a child custody lawyer present proof for your argument and try to convince the court to rule in your favor.
If your family’s circumstances have changed, it’s worthwhile to talk to a New Jersey family law attorney. Morgenstern & Rochester is happy to discuss your situation and provide you with information about requesting a child custody modification. We also provide a variety of other family law services throughout Cherry Hill and surrounding areas. Our team can assist with dividing assets, arranging alimony, getting protective orders, and more. To arrange a free consultation, call 856-489-6200 or fill out our contact form.