Your kids mean the world to you. That’s why you’re ready to fight when you disagree with a child custody or visitation arrangement. But before you go into court to seek a custody modification, you need to have clearly defined arguments that are supported by the facts and the law.
When can you seek a child custody modification?
But what sort of situations justify a child custody modification? Here are some of the most common circumstances that may warrant taking legal action:
- Parental substance abuse: A child’s exposure to parental substance abuse can be extremely harmful. A child in this situation might experience heightened fear and anxiety, and he or she may develop behavioral problems and poor school performance. So, if you suspect that your child is being exposed to parental substance abuse, then you’ll want to turn to police reports and witness accounts to gain a clearer sense of the extent of the substance abuse and how it affects your child.
- Abuse and neglect: This might sound like a no-brainer, but abuse and neglect are more wide-reaching than many people realize. Emotional and verbal abuse, too, can leave a child depressed and anxious, thereby putting his or her phycological safety and wellbeing at risk. Talking to your child and his or her therapist, if one is in place, can give you a lot of insight here. If your child doesn’t have a therapist, then you might want to get one in place as soon as possible.
- Mental health issues: Although mental health issues shouldn’t be stigmatized, their existence can negatively impact an individual’s ability to appropriately parent his or her child. So, if you suspect that your child’s other parent is struggling with a mental health condition, then you might want to gather evidence of how it is impacting the capacity to effectively and safely parent.
- Your child’s preferences: If your child is old enough, then the court will give his or her preferences a considerable amount of weight. Just make sure that you fully understand why your child feels the way they do, as some justifications that come from kids might not seem all that relevant to a best interests
- Parental interference: In far too many cases, parents can’t seem to stick to a custody and visitation arrangement even though it’s been court-ordered. If that’s the situation for you, then you’ll want to ask who is responsible for failing to abide by the court’s order. If it’s the other parent, then you might be able to use that fact to justify a modification request.
- Domestic violence: Exposure to domestic violence can do a significant amount of harm to your child. While it might increase the risk of your child being physically injured, it can also lead to guilt, anxiety, depression, excessive fear, and school and behavioral problems.
There’s simply too much at stake to forego a child custody modification if it’s warranted. After all, the effects of the issues identified above can be wide-ranging and long-lasting. That’s why if you’re worried about your child’s safety and wellbeing under the current circumstances, then you should consider acting now.
Do you need an advocate on your side?
There’s a lot to consider when you’re dealing with a contentious custody dispute. And any misstep could lead to an outcome that you never intended. That’s why as you navigate your custody case it might be wise to work closely with an experienced family law advocate who can provide you with the advice and legal representation that you and your child need.