Obtaining a divorce is not a decision that should be taken lightly, but it is often the best thing for the family. Once this is what has been decided on, there are numerous issues for spouses to settle. For parents, their priority will be coming up with a custody arrangement that meets the best interests of the child. This will also be the priority for the court.
Initially, the agreed-upon custody order may do this, but what happens if it becomes unsuitable further down the line? Can a legally binding custody order be modified?
The family court is more than aware that the needs of a child change both quickly and constantly throughout their development. For this reason, they are always willing to consider requests for modifications based on valid grounds. But what are these valid grounds? Here are two possibilities:
1. Risks of instability for the children
As mentioned, the key focus of the family court in custody cases is the best interests of the child. There is no uniform definition of the best interests of the child, but stability plays an important role. If the environment of the child has become unstable or is at risk of becoming this way, then a modification might be possible. For example, if one parent has fallen gravely ill and simply cannot spend enough time with the child.
2. When relocation is desirable
In some cases, it may be favorable for the child to move to a different location with the parent that they currently live with. In other scenarios, the parent who has visitation may have to reduce the number of visits because they have been offered a lucrative job out of state. Again, the key factor here will be what is in the best interests of the child.
Before seeking a custody modification, it is wise to have as much information as possible. Seeking some legal guidance will give you a better idea of your options.