Changing Child Custody Arrangements after Divorce
The general assumption in most child custody cases is that the judgment is never final, and that future changes in circumstances could always warrant changes in the custody arrangement.
Unless the parents voluntarily agree to a new custody agreement (which, if reasonable, are often approved by courts as a matter of course), it will generally be necessary to get the courts involved.
As with every decision related to child custody, the question of what is in the best interests of the child always controls. The desires or convenience of the parents carry very little weight.
For a court to change a child custody arrangement, one or both parents usually have to show a change in circumstances affected the interests of the child. This could mean one parent moving, a change in the health of a parent, or a change in a parent’s financial situation, among many others.
In most states, it is preferred that a petition to change child custody is filed in the court which granted custody in the first place. This is not always required, however. If the parents have moved to another part of the state, or some other fact makes it difficult to file in the original court, they will usually be allowed to file in the court of whatever county the child lives in.
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Last Modified: 03-20-2013 02:35 PM PDT