Sometimes, child support orders issued by a judge may no longer serve the children’s best interests. Circumstances may change, putting the safety and well-being of the children at risk. Fortunately, the law is alive to such unexpected changes, and court-issued child custody orders are not etched in stone.
To change the current custody orders, you can agree with your co-parent on a different arrangement and take your new custody plan to the court for approval. If the children’s best interests are secure and there are no objections, the judge will approve and formalize the new orders.
Alternatively, you can petition the court to modify the custody orders if you cannot reach a consensus with your co-parent. Here is what you need to do.
Gather relevant evidence to build your case
The court needs to see a substantial change in circumstance on your co-parent’s side or the children’s to modify custody orders. Some reasons a judge will review prior orders include relocation, incarceration, substance abuse, neglect and abuse by the other parent or if your co-parent constantly violates the current custody orders.
Remember, the burden of proof lies with you, the parent petitioning the court to modify earlier orders, and it is essential to have relevant evidence that will convince the judge to do so.
Prepare for the hearing
After filing the child custody modification petition, you need to serve your co-parent accordingly, informing them about the looming court process. They will be required to attend a hearing where a judge will determine the matter after reviewing submissions from you and your co-parent. The court will still issue a determination even when your co-parent ignores the summon.
Knowing what to expect during the hearing and how to deal with possible counteraccusations by your co-parent will help you get through the modification process smoothly while increasing the odds of a successful petition.