Divorcing couples today often establish a shared parenting agreement that indicates the amount of time each parent will spend with the child, along with describing the conditions that will pertain to the child. These often include factors like how much time, and on which days of the week, the child will spend with each parent. Vacations, holidays, and birthdays are usually spelled out in terms of the child’s schedule.
In addition, a child’s education, religious affiliation, and certain social parameters may be explained in the agreement so that everyone knows what to expect, going forward. For a while such an agreement may work in the best interests of the children. But circumstances could change that would require a child custody modification that would be proposed for the court’s approval by one of the divorced parents with help from a family law attorney. Sometimes the other parent will agree up front, and at other times the proposed changes may be vigorously contested in court. Here are some of the common situations that could lead to a child custody modification proceeding.
If the child becomes unruly, one of the parents may request that the other keep the child more or less than the original agreement states. Conversely, if a parent develops issues, such as extensive drinking or illegal drug use, or perhaps allows a partner or step-parent to have undue authority over the child, a custody modification may be sought.
When one of the parents loses income or begins earning more income, a modification of custody terms might be pursued to adjust the time spent with one parent or the other. A parent who becomes unemployed may not have a suitable home temporarily, thus temporarily suggesting the need for the child to live with the other parent.
If the child or either parent develops chronic health problems, the other parent may be asked or seek to change the custody terms in order to provide more effective care for the child. Proximity to medical care could be the basis for custody change.
When a child reaches the age of twelve or so, he or she may be entitled in some states to request a child custody modification. This may enable the child to attend a different school or spend more time with the more available parent.
A flexible custody agreement can be modified, if needed. Contact Ronald L. Kossack today to answer all of your legal questions.