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Child Custody Presumption in Favor of the Status Quo

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What is the Status Quo in Relation to Child Custody?

“Status quo” refers to the current status of matters. For child custody, “status quo” is the parental arrangement prior to the actual child custody hearings. Often, parents have separated and instituted custody arrangements before the official divorce. Some issues that parents may have decided prior to official divorce and child custody proceedings include:

  • When the children should live with who
  • How long the child should stay where?
  • Where the child should go during which holidays?

What Does “Presumption in Favor of the Status Quo” Mean in a Child Custody Hearing?

A court order that contains a "presumption in favor of the status quo" maintains the custody arrangements that were present before the formal custody hearings. This is because the guiding principle behind child custody determinations is whatever that is in “the best interests of the child.” If the child has become accustomed to a particular arrangement, it may be disruptive to the child to change the arrangement.

When Can the Status Quo Be Changed?

However, the status quo can be changed if the judge determines that the present custody arrangement is not suitable for the child. This can occur when any of the following situations occur:

  • One of the parents has committed abuse, acts of violence, or other violations against the other parent or the child
  • A new law regarding child custody arrangements has been passed
  • The status quo arrangement is not practical for the child (such as if one of the parents move or relocates to a different city or state)
  • There is evidence that the child’s needs are better served by a different custody arrangement

Each state’s law differs on when a status quo can be changed. Typically, however, a judge will make a custody determination after taking a comprehensive look at the situation the child is in. Consequently, it is also possible that an existing custody arrangement may be changed according to a judge’s order. It is also possible to change the custody arrangement after divorce.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Change a Status Quo Order?

Changing a status quo order depends on what the child custody laws are in your particular state. In order to determine which are the applicable laws in your state, speak with an experienced child custody attorney today

Photo of page author Sally Hong

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 04-11-2018 08:32 PM PDT

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