Child custody agreements are a necessary part of the separation and divorce process, but sometimes certain situations make it necessary for the original agreement to be altered. Below is an explanation of when a change in a custody agreement may be necessary and how to go about it, even if your child's other parent isn't cooperative.
When Changing a Custody Agreement is Necessary
There are a number of reasons that a child custody agreement may need to be modified, and not all of those reasons are bad.
If your child is older and becoming more involved in school activities, or if your child has a job that is closer to the home of one parent than another, a change in a custody agreement can provide your child with more opportunities and better experiences. Unfortunately, there are some not-so-good reasons that an order needs to be changed, such as physical or emotional abuse or an unstable living situation. While the above situations all may warrant a change in the original agreement, there are two separate processes to go through depending on the cooperativeness of your child's other parent.
When the Other Parent is Cooperative
When both parents are working together to create a more effective parenting arrangement, the process to change a custody agreement can be fairly quick and easy.
While custody agreements can be altered outside of a courtroom, it's in the best interest of all involved to have any new agreements looked at by your family attorney and filed with the court. This will ensure that, should your relationship with the other parent go sour, they cannot blame you for not following the original custody order. If you're both on the same page regarding a new custody arrangement, the new order can be written up with the help of an attorney or family law facilitator and filed with the court.
When the Other Parent is Uncooperative
Sometimes custody arrangements must be changed to provide your child with a safe and healthy living environment.
If your child's other parent is putting your child in harm's way or not holding up their end of the custody agreement, a petition can be filed with the court to change the current order. Your family law attorney can help you to gather any evidence you may need to prove your case, as well as guide you through the petitioning process. Examples of evidence may include witnesses testifying to an unsafe or unhealthy living environment and documentation of previous trouble with your ex-partner that may affect your child (police reports, social service cases, etc.). This can be a longer and more involved process as it usually requires a judge to step in and make decisions based on the evidence, but a good attorney can help to make the process go as smoothly as possible.
Click for more information about changing a current child custody agreement.