A modification of child custody may be necessary for a variety of reasons concerning physical custody, legal custody, visitation and/or child support. Family law and divorce courts in Georgia generally insists that the requirement for change in child custody suggests that there is a significant change of circumstance that requires change for the child’s best interest and stability. Some of the most common reasons for a child custody modification include:
• Importance of rearing a child in a traditional family environment.
• Increase in child’s age.
• Change in child’s behavior.
• Change in living arrangements.
• New employment situation.
• Relocation for a parent out of the state.
• Current living arrangement puts the child at risk of physical or emotional harm.
• Custodial parent is refusing visitation by the non-custodial parent.
What can you achieve with a Modification of Custody?
A modification of custody can warrant a change of parenting plan to either parent’s preference of what they perceive is in the best interest of the child. A judge may then issue a change in the child’s best interest either from both the parents parenting plan, either parenting plan, or from judges perception of what is in the child’s best interest. A judge may issue a modification order in light of evidence provided at trial. If there isn’t enough evidence to substantiate a significant change of circumstance then the judge may issue a minor change or may dismiss the case. A modification can effectively make visitations easier, help the parents co-parent, place the child in a more beneficial living situation, or prevent the child from being in harm’s way.
How to determine if a Modification of Custody is warranted?
One of the safest ways to know if a modification of child custody is warranted is to consult with an attorney with legal experience with family law. Another way is to wait until there are enough small modification issues to hold a case on multiple issues or wait until smaller issues may give rise to larger issues. It is best to wait until issues are a significant issue as small and petty quarreling issues irritate the judge and make both parties appear as if they are incapable for caring for the child through their inability to act rationally for the sake of the child. Once a modification is warranted it is important to address the issues as soon as possible. Often times a request for modification also coincides with contempt of court orders; in this type of situation you may file for a contempt of court in addition to the separate motion of modification. If the other party is found guilty of contempt then this may aid in the evidence to substantiate your claim for a modification of custody.
Preparing for a Modification of Child Custody
Over all modifications are intended to solve an ongoing problem or problems concerning child custody. In order to prepare for your modification case you will need to prove the problem or problems occurring and have outlined solutions to solving the problem legally and amicably. This evidence and proposed solutions should be thoroughly discussed with your attorney to determine what appropriate measures can take place to act as a solution or to evaluate similar case law to demonstrate possible legal outcomes.