How to Modify a Child Custody Agreement

You’ve got a great job in the city and it is very close to your ex - spouse and child. The company is opening a new branch in a different state and they want you to head the development team. You want to go, but doing so would compromise the conditions of your custody agreement. When something like this happens, what, if anything, can be done to amend the situation?

File a Motion to Change Custody

Even if both parents agree to modify the current custody arrangement, it’s not official until the judge makes a new order. This is the recommended legal course of action, as it helps protect both parents from issues down the line.

Once the motion is filed, it will be reviewed by a judge, who will then decide if custody will be reconsidered. Modifying a child custody agreement cannot be done frivolously. You can’t ask to change the agreement simple because you want a more engaging social life. The change is a serious legal process and should be considered as such. A judge will only agree to modify custody if there is an actual change in circumstance or proper cause.

Examples of appropriate reasons for modification:

  • A parent is abusing alcohol or drugs.
  • A parent has neglected or abused the child.
  • A parent is no longer providing proper care of their child.
  • A parent is absent from the home.
  • A parent is moving out of the county or state.

A Judge Decides if There Is an ECE

An established custodial environment (ECE) is the environment in which a child (or children) have successfully found guidance, comfort, discipline, and basic needs. It can exist with the primary caregiver or both parents equally. If it very clearly exists, the party that put the modification into motion must prove that changing custody would be in the child’s best interest. The child’s best interests come first in any custody situation, and the judge will always rule in favor of what’s deemed best for the child.

The Judge Considers if Changing Custody Is in the Child’s Best Interests

The judge will look at each factor and mark their findings on the official record of the court. If there is already a great ECE in place and the child is doing well, it could be harder to prove that custody needs to be changed. If it seems that a modification to the custody agreement would benefit the child more than the current situation, the judge will modify the agreement accordingly.

Contact Beatriz Zyne, P.A.

Convincing a judge to change an established custody agreement can be very challenging. You’ll need an attorney with experience in custody modifications to help. Attorney Beatriz Zyne, P.A. has over 20 years of legal experience and knows the correct steps to take for a judge to consider modifications in child custody.

If you would like to change your child custody agreement, contact the firm today at (305) 876-6138 or reach out online.