Divorce Guide

Divorce Guide

Divorce Custody Change

Divorce child custody battle is fraught with its lows! The custodian parent gets the child to live with him/her but should not assume it to be a privilege which can not be changed by his/her ex-spouse. Also, family welfare agencies monitor if the custodian parent is in any way neglecting the child. Of course, the ex-spouse would also be interested to have divorce custody change where there are changes in the terms and conditions as laid down in the earlier custody order.

Child custody cases which are decided upon by the courts can be again requested for modification only in special situations. If the court is convinced that the circumstances of the case have change and the custody of the child should no longer be in the manner that it is now, then it would award a divorce custody change.

Let us look into the sequence in which the court tries to tackle the issue.

Let the parents sit and discuss

Courts generally ask the divorced parents to discuss the change in the custody matter themselves, maybe with the help of a custody mediator. A final draft of the parenting plan and a changed visitation agreement can be then presented in the court for judicial approval.

What if the parents fail to arrive at a consensus?

In case one parent refuses to accept the changed custody proposal or altered visitation arrangement, he/she may move the court regarding that matter. Courts look into the matter only when they are sure that the circumstances of the case have changed and therefore, warrant attention.

When do courts step for the second time?

Few issues have been mentioned below which may cause the courts to modify the present custody and visitation arrangements:
  • If the custodian parent is not taking care of the child’s best interests and is proven to have neglected the child. Once the ex-spouse presents a good case highlighting the gross abuse or neglect of the child, then the courts may consider modifying the custody arrangements.
  • If the custodian parent frequently changes residence and is unemployed or has a doubtful job status, then also the court may find it necessary to intervene and have a divorce custody change.
  • If any parent is found to be generating negative thoughts about the other parent in the mind of the child, also referred to as parental alienation syndrome, courts may step in to make modifications in the present custody arrangements. If the custodian parent flees away with the child and keeps it away secretly from the divorced spouse, courts find it damaging enough to go ahead for custody changes. However, courts ask both the parents to participate in divorce custody evaluation before confirming that such a situation truly exists. A professional mental health expert or the evaluator is a best guide to the court in such a divorce custody move.
  • Courts may not consider remarriage of the custodian mother reason enough for changes in the custody or visitation arrangements. After all, remarriage only increases financial security of the child. However, if the step-parent is found to be abusive towards the child and in anyway harming the child, the ex-spouse can ask the court to modify the custody arrangements.
  • Some custodian parents may cause harm to the child by being alcoholic, or indulge in drug abuse, substance abuse, and physical abuse. If the ex-spouse can prove that his/her partner is unfit for raising the child in the court, he/she may win in the divorce custody change.
Courts keep in mind that a child should be given a stable home environment for proper care and growth. Hence, awarding the custody in the first place itself is done with careful consideration. This is to discourage any motion to seek alteration in child custody.

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