Once a court establishes an order regarding how two divorcing or separating parents will share custody and visitation rights with their children, the terms of that order remain in place unless changed by a court. Requesting a change in custody arrangements is a complex and document-intensive endeavor that can be difficult to navigate if you are unfamiliar with the proper procedures.
Support from a Stamford child custody modification lawyer is often crucial to pursuing an updated custody order that better suits your current circumstances. Whether both parents agree on the same proposed modification, or you and your co-parent disagree, you will have a better chance of getting a favorable outcome with guidance from a seasoned child custody attorney.
State courts define a valid cause to modify a custody order as “a substantial change in circumstances.” A change must be both significant and material to justify a modification, meaning that continued application of the original custody order would no longer be in the child’s best interests.
Notably, the suggested change must be significantly better for the child’s interests than the existing order. A petition to modify a custody order is not an appeal of the original order, nor can it be used to relitigate an order already put in place.
A typical qualifying change in circumstances is a parent needing to move to another state for employment purposes. However, the court sets no rules on specific situations that warrant a custody modification. Statutory factors established in Connecticut law mandate the factors to be considered when determining what would best serve a child’s interests. The court also has the authority to evaluate the appropriateness of a suggested modification based on its discretion. A knowledgeable attorney in Stamford can help a parent navigate the pursuit of a child custody modification.
Parents who agree that a specific modification to an existing order would be best for their child and themselves can jointly file a motion with the court. This process involves several forms with which a child custody modification lawyer in Stamford can provide vital assistance. A parent filing by themselves must ask a state marshal to serve a copy of their motion to the non-filing party no later than 12 days before a child custody adjustment court hearing.
If the non-filing parent objects to the proposed modification, they may appear for the hearing and present counterarguments and evidence. The party pursuing the change to the existing court order will need to show through evidence that they meet the criteria for a modification, or the court will not grant the request.
It is possible to change child custody orders, but getting one modified is not a simple process. Unless you have help from experienced legal counsel, you may have trouble complying with all the procedural requirements and rules that govern the modification process. Deviating from your existing order without a modification can have serious legal repercussions.
Working with a Stamford child custody modification lawyer is the best way to protect everyone’s interests and rights during this challenging proceeding. Call us today for a consultation.