The adage “nothing lasts forever” can be true for a lot of things, including child custody agreements. As life’s circumstances change and a child grows, custody plans may need to be modified. After all, what works for a toddler may not work for a teenager.
Here are two valid grounds upon which a parent may request the court to modify the custody order.
When the child is in danger
If one parent is engaging in behaviors that could pose a physical or emotional danger to the child, the court can review the existing custody order with the goal of removing or limiting that parent’s interaction with the child. Behaviors that can justify modification on grounds of endangerment include the following:
- Abuse – physical, mental, emotional or sexual
- Placing the child in circumstances that make them vulnerable to abuse by others
- Alcohol and substance abuse which puts the child at the risk of neglect or harm
- Psychiatric breakdowns
These are not the only reasons, naturally, that a child may be in danger, but they are common causes for custody modifications.
Violation of existing custody orders
A custody agreement, either through a mutual agreement or the court’s ruling, is binding to both parties. If one parent is consistently violating the custody order, perhaps by denying visitation or failing to return the child on time, the other parent can ask for a remedy through a custody modification.
Sometimes custody modifications come about simply because the child’s needs change or the existing plan doesn’t work. Other times, the reason for the request is more serious. If you’re concerned about a pressing child custody issue, find out more about your legal options.