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Family Law, Custody Arrangements and Modifying Existing Plans

Aug. 1, 2016

One of the hardest aspects of family law for parents to deal with is the custody issues concerning their children. Children tend to bring out the emotional side of a divorce, and so child custody cases can often drag on for a long time. However, when it comes to family law, it is important for parents to remember several factors. The first is that the judge has no prior knowledge of the situation and will only be reviewing the facts and information that are allowed to be presented to them when making a determination of custody in a child custody case. Moreover, the judge is required in a family law case to order a custody agreement that they believe to be in the best interest of the child. This means they will select the custodial parent who they find to be more stable, more secure, and more able to support the children as they go through their childhood. For parents, this can sometimes be a bitter pill to swallow. It is critical if you are going through a divorce that you engage my services, as a family lawyer, so that you have someone who will fight hard for you and ensure that any custody agreements are ones you can live with. It is important to remember that once a custodial agreement has been signed, you could be living with this parenting plan for a long time.

Often, parents who have gone through a divorce want to come back and modify the parenting plan that has been approved and ordered by the family law courts. It is critical for my clients to understand that this is a hard task to accomplish, which is why it is far better to have the proper family law attorney representing you in the original case, to begin with. The courts tend to side with their own best judgment, believing that when they ordered the original child custody plan or parenting plan, they did so with the best interest of the child in mind. If you as the non-custodial parent want to make a significant modification to the parenting plan, you will have to prove to the court that there has been a major change in circumstances that will adversely impact the child if they continue to remain in the approved parenting situation.

There are many reasons why you could potentially bring your request for a major modification, including drug addiction, alcoholism, mental illness, out-of-control anger, criminal activity, or self-destructive behavior. However, it is important that you understand that these facts would need to be clearly shown as having a detrimental effect on the parenting and therefore the child's health, welfare, and safety. If you truly believe that you need to get a major modification to protect the interests of your child, you should speak with me, your family law attorney, immediately so that I can give you the proper guidance. If you decide to pursue the case, I will determine how to best go about achieving a major modification in your parenting plan.

NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.