Child custody issues often leave people unhappy with the arrangements. Especially if the situation involved a previous visit to court where a judge issued an order, people often want to seek modifications. A child custody attorney will tell you this is usually challenging, but how hard is it going to be? These three factors will determine the difficulty of trying to obtain a modification of a standing child custody order.
Reasons for the Previous Judgment
A major issue in determining how taxing a child custody modification will be is the court's basis for its previous judgment. Suppose a judge didn't provide any form of custody to one parent due to a history of drug and alcohol use problems that led to some degree of neglect. Many courts will encourage a parent in this situation to seek counseling while also indicating a willingness to review the custody order at a later date. In these cases, a person who has put in months or years of compliance stands a good chance of obtaining at least a limited modification.
Bear in mind, however, that the court will expect a ladder of improvement corresponding with possible changes to the old order. For example, a judge might give a compliant parent supervised visitation initially with the possibility of eventually obtaining partial custody. A child custody attorney will strongly caution against expecting joint custody at the first modification hearing.
Generally, the more necessary a modification is the more likely a judge will grant it. Suppose a parent with primary physical custody became permanently ill to the point they could no longer care for the child. A judge would likely see the sense in a modification that placed the kid with the more able parent as long as there weren't any other mitigating circumstances.
Conversely, courts rarely humor modifications if everything seems to be going well and there aren't any specific issues with either parent held over from previous hearings. If one parent just wants to find a different judge to review the case, they won't likely have much luck getting a court to grant it.
Mother vs. Father
Based on statistics, American family courts are more likely to grant primary physical custody to the mother. In most cases, this boils down to the traditional pattern of the mother serving as the primary caregiver prior to the parents breaking up. A father may have a viable case if they can demonstrate that they were the predominant or equal caregiver. However, fathers should be prepared to document this fact.
For more information, contact a local firm like visit a site like https://www.molnarlaw.com.
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