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Five justifications for seeking a child custody modification

On Behalf of | Mar 29, 2024 | Child Custody

Hashing out or litigating a child custody arrangement with your child’s other parent can take a lot of time and result in a fair amount of stress. Yet, when it’s all said and done, you might breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the matter has been put to rest. But has it really?

Maybe not. As time goes on and life changes, your existing child custody order may become untenable, perhaps even putting your child’s physical, emotional, or psychological well-being at risk. When that happens, start thinking about whether it’s time to seek a child custody and contact modification.

When are you justified in seeking a child custody modification?

You can negotiate a child custody modification if you and your child’s other parent are receptive to a change. But if your child’s other parent isn’t open to discussion on this point, then you probably need to take the matter to court. Here, you’ll have to show that there’s been a substantial change in circumstances that warrant the modification you seek and that the proposed modification is in the child’s best interests. Here are some situations that may warrant a custody modification:

  • Exposure to parental substance abuse: Sadly, drug use is rampant across the United States, including in the Lancaster area. If your child is exposed to parental substance abuse, then they can be at an increased risk of abuse or neglect, and they could be harmed when they’re directly exposed to illicit substances. Your child can also develop anxiety and depression, and their school performance or behavior might decline significantly because their minds are focused elsewhere.
  • Exposure to domestic violence: Your child shouldn’t be exposed to violence of any kind. Yet, all too often children are witness to or interject themselves into domestic violence situations. Your child is at risk of being physically injured as a result, and they can develop feelings of guilt, shame, and fear. Your child might also learn to use anger and aggression to deal with their frustrations, which can create a lifelong struggle if left uncorrected.
  • Abuse and neglect: Not all abuse is extreme and physical in nature. Don’t overlook the impact that verbal and psychological abuse can have on your child as doing so could lead to long-term emotional and psychological harm. If you suspect any kind of abuse or neglect, then you should consider pursuing modification.
  • Untreated mental health conditions: Being diagnosed with a mental health condition itself doesn’t make you (or your co-parent) a bad parent. But if a mental health condition goes untreated and poses a threat to your child’s safety and well-being, then you should consider seeking a custody modification.
  • Medical and financial changes: Seemingly overnight, a parent can experience a medical condition or changed financial circumstances that leave them unable to adequately care for your child. When your child’s basic needs are at risk of going unmet, then modification may be warranted to protect their best interests.

Are you ready to seek child custody and contact modification?

If the answer is “yes,” then you should contact an attorney to discuss your options and get advice as to how to file the modification request and what evidence you may need to support your position.

You’ll also want to anticipate the other parent’s arguments. Think about how they’re going to try to deflect or defend against your allegations and draw your parenting abilities into question. By doing so, you’ll hopefully craft a persuasive legal strategy that positions you to successfully modify your child custody order in a way that protects your child’s best interests.