Modification of Child Custody
Written by: Kaitlin Romanelli Myers
An existing child custody order can be modified if there has been a substantial and material change in circumstances. A modification of child custody requires meeting a two-prong test: (1) that there has been a substantial and material change of circumstances since the previous order was entered, and (2) that the modification is in the best interest of the child. The standard to modify a custody order is high in order to prevent frequent custody modifications that can have a negative impact on the child.
Some examples of material changes in circumstances include:
- One parent relocating to a different school district or state;
- A change in one parents work hours that affects the minor child;
- Frequent violation of the current order by a parent;
- Acts of domestic violence;
- One parents attempts to impede or frustrate the visitation of the other parent;
- Drastic improvements in one parent’s life or any other change that could adversely or beneficially affect the minor child.
The change in circumstances does not need to be a negative change, it could be a positive change in one parent’s life that would create a substantial change in the child’s life.
Judges will look at a series of factors when determining if a modification should occur. Those factors often include:
- How the alleged change has affected the child’s life (whether positively or negatively);
- The age of the child;
- The wishes of the child;
- Stability for the child; and
- Whether a modification is realistic for a custody and visitation schedule.
There are many additional factors that can be considered based on the grounds alleged for modification. Every case is unique and is best discussed with an attorney who can discuss your specific set of facts and the specific circumstances surrounding your desire to seek a modification of an existing child custody order.
The family law attorneys at Hall Booth Smith, P.C. are here to help you through the child custody and modification process. If you have questions about child custody or child custody modification, you should consult with an attorney to discuss the specific facts of your case and determine if modifying your current custody order is possible. If you have a child custody or modification matter in Asheville or the surrounding areas, you can call 828-232-4481.