After the court makes a custody ruling, it is legally binding. To make any changes to the agreement, you must file for a modification with the court. Modifying a child custody agreement in New Haven can be difficult if you do not have a legal representative. Fortunately, a dedicated child custody lawyer can guide you through the process.
To modify a custody agreement in New Haven, parents must show a substantial change in circumstances since the entry of the original court order. For example, if one parent gets a new job that requires them to relocate, the parties will have to modify the child’s residence, visitation, and pick-up schedules. In other cases, the child may develop a health condition that changes their medical needs.
When one parent demonstrates concerning behaviors that negatively impact the child, the other party can also request to change the agreement. Common issues that may constitute grounds for a modification include substance abuse issues and a failure to care for the child during scheduled times.
Any modification to a custody order must be in the best interest of the child. Often separated parents have opposing views of what best serves their child.
Consequently, the parents must present their evidence to the court, where a judge decides what is in the child’s best interests. Individuals may also invite third-party evaluators, such as a guardian ad litem or family relations officer, to weigh in on the situation.
There are certain types of modifications where a parent should notify the other party well in advance. For example, it is crucial to inform the other party of one’s intent to relocate before solidifying any plans.
Getting a modification approved could take over six months. If the other parent strongly disagrees with the relocation, the requesting parent will need ample time to navigate the legal process before they move. Parents can speak with a lawyer to determine if notifying the other party of their intentions would benefit their custody case.
Anyone seeking to change their child custody agreement must file a motion with the court. After submitting the paperwork and paying the filing fee, the court sets a hearing date. Once that date is set, the filing party must serve their motion on the other person. These initial steps are typically completed within one or two months.
The most important step in requesting a modification to a custody order is presenting evidence that there has been a substantial change in circumstances. Parents must also prove the modification they are seeking is in the child’s best interest.
If the issue is that one parent is leaving the child home alone for long periods of time, the filing party would need to present evidence that the parent’s absence is negatively affecting the child. Report cards showing declining grades at school might constitute evidence in this scenario.
Further, the filing party should demonstrate how their proposed change to the arrangement would be in the best interest of the child. The time needed for discovery and case preparation can vary depending on how complex the issue is and whether the other party disagrees with the proposed modification.
Many unexpected events may require you to modify your existing child custody order. If you and your former partner disagree on what is best for your child, you can benefit from hiring a lawyer. Contact us today to learn how to modify a child custody agreement in New Haven.