If your current custody agreement isn't working for you, you may be wondering about making changes to the custody agreement. However, unless you and your ex spouse agree to the changes and both agree to modify the agreement, you will need to go through the courts. Here is some information you should know if you are looking to request a change to your custody agreement.
Reasons Why a Parent May Request a Change of Custody
Generally, in order for a custody agreement change to be made, it must be shown that there is a change of circumstances. This may mean that you have moved for a job, your child has changes schools and has different start or stop times, or your child is engaged in extracurricular activities that prevent pick up at certain times.
Steps to Requesting a Change of Custody
The first step to changing the custody agreement is filing out the correct change of custody form based on the venue you reside in. After filling it out, it will need to be filed with the courts. After being filed, it will need to be served on your child's other parent. The courts will then give the other parent the opportunity to file a response and a hearing date will be set.
What the Courts Look for When Making a Decision
When making a decision, the courts will look at the change of circumstances and the best interests of the child. If your child now has baseball practice on Friday, and your ex can no longer pick them up at 5:00, but can pick them up at 7:00 after practice, a change will likely be granted. On the other hand, if you simply want to change the custody agreement because you prefer to spend Tuesday with her instead of Wednesdays, the courts may not disrupt the child's schedule just to please you without a valid reason. Ultimately, the judge decides what is reasonable, what has changed in your life, your ex's life and your child's life, and what is beneficial to all parties.
If you are looking to change a custody agreement, you may want to consult with family law attorneys to help advise you on whether you have valid grounds for requesting the agreement change. Our attorneys at Gerkin & Decker have a tremendous amount of experience in family law. If you're looking for trusted divorce lawyers, contact us today!