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When to request a child custody modification

When a child custody arrangement no longer works, parents may need to request a child custody modification from the family law court. There are a variety of reasons why a child custody agreement may need to be modified but the family law court will always seek to do what is in the best interests of the child. If the child is in danger, for instance, the family law court may modify a child custody order and will seek to determine if there is domestic violence in the home, if the danger is immediate and if the child has expressed a desire not to be in the home.

Another reason that a child custody modification may be considered is because of parental relocation. The court will consider the parent's motivation for the relocation, whether it makes the current child custody agreement and visitation schedule impractical, if the parents have developed a way to rework the visitation schedule and if it interrupts the child's life, including their friendships, sporting and after-school activities and their religious upbringing.

A child custody modification may also be sought if one of the parents is not following the visitation schedule. The court will consider the current child custody plan, reasons why it is not being followed and the communication between the parents. In addition, a child custody modification may be considered in circumstances when one parent has died and there are several factors the court will consider in those circumstances. In general, child custody modifications may be considered when there has been a significant change in circumstances of the parent or the child.

In all circumstances, the court will consider what is in the best interests of the child as the guiding factor when making any child custody and visitation determinations. There are a variety of important reasons a child custody modification may be sought so it is helpful for parents to understand what the family law court considers when making one.

Source: The Spruce, "5 Reasons to Request Child Custody Modification," Debrina Washington, Aug. 27, 2017

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