Changing Child Custody Arrangements After Divorce

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Most Common Family Law Issues:

Can I Change My Child Custody Arrangement After My Divorce is Finalized?

The general assumption in most child custody cases is that the judgment is never final, and that future changes in circumstances could always warrant making changes in the custody arrangement.

If both parents agree to a new custody agreement and the agreement is found to be reasonable, the court usually approves it as a matter of course. However, if both parents do not agree, it might be necessary for the courts to get involved.

How Does the Court Make a Decision?

As with every decision relating to child custody, the question of what is in the best interests of the child always controls. The courts do not place much importance on what the parents want or want is convenient for them.

In order fora court to change a child custody arrangement, usually one or both of the parents must show a change in circumstances that affects the interests of the child. This could mean everything from a parent moving, a parent getting extremely sick, or a parent losing his or her job.

How Do I Change My Child Custody Agreement?

In most states, you usually have to file a petition in the court that first granted custody. However, a filing a petition is not always required. If the parents have moved to another part of the state, or there is some other reason that makes it difficult to file in the original court, the court will usually allow the parents to file in the court of whatever county the child currently lives in.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

Child custody arrangements are complex and often require an attorney to draw up the paperwork. If you are looking to modify a child custody agreement, consult with an experienced family law attorney. He or she will be able to provide you information specific to your state and can file the paperwork for you.

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Last Modified: 07-16-2014 11:10 AM PDT

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