If you're engaged in a custody arrangement, then you - like many other parents - may wonder how your visitation schedule and custody order could change as your child grows up. Understanding how your custody order will change as your child ages can help you learn what to expect from the coming years.
To schedule a consultation with our team and work with an experienced custody attorney on your case, contact us online or via phone at (248) 565-3800.
Is Growing Up Grounds to Change a Custody Order?
While the Oakland Friend of the Court (FOC) guidelines recognize that the needs of children change as they age, growing up isn't technically a change in circumstances. As such, just because your child is getting older doesn't necessarily mean you have grounds to file a custody order modification case or try to amend the terms of your custody arrangement.
Why Will a Judge Change a Custody Order?
In any custody case, the court's primary concern is always making a decision that falls in line with the child's best interests.
Judges will change a custody order if they believe a child has experienced a substantial change in circumstances that necessitates an adjustment to the order, and the change in question will benefit the child's best interests.
Courts commonly approve custody order modifications when:
A Parent's Situation Changes
If a parent experiences a substantial change in circumstances, such as losing their job or developing a substance dependency or medical condition, the court may agree to change the terms of a custody order.
Custody orders may also change to reflect a positive change in a parent's life. For example, if a parent who lacked custody improves their situation to a certain extent, a court may award them more custody time to reflect their ability to act as a caretaker.
A Child Is in Danger or Experiences a Change in Circumstances
If a child is in danger of suffering from abuse or neglect at the hands of a parent, courts can issue an emergency custody order revoking that parent's custodial rights until the case can be evaluated more closely.
Other changes in a child's circumstances, such as the development of a medical condition or the need for differing mental or physical care, may also necessitate a change in the custody order.
A Parent Refuses to Comply with the Custody Order
If a parent fails to comply with the terms of a custody order - for example, refusing to exchange custody when required or slandering the other parent when such behavior is explicitly forbidden in the terms of the agreement - the court may change the terms of the custody arrangement. Other circumstances, such as the child relocating, may also require the court to change the details of a custody arrangement.
If you want to change the terms of your custody arrangement but can't reach an agreement on how to enact those changes with your co-parent, you'll probably need to file a custody order modification case.
Our custody attorneys will work with you to ensure you receive the highest level of service while navigating you toward the best outcome for you and your child. To learn more, contact us online or via phone at (248) 565-3800.