Even after your divorce attorney has helped you and your ex settle your custody arrangement in your divorce, it may not be a permanent arrangement. You may be able to petition the court for custody if you or your ex-spouse undergo a significant change in circumstance impacting the best interests of your children. Although most courts try to maintain stability for the children, you might be able to ask the court to change custody in certain circumstances.
You Are No Longer Unfit for Custody
If you were originally not granted custody, you may be able to petition for a custody modification if the issue that prevented custody is no longer prevalent. The most common example of this situation is a parent who was previously not allowed custody because they were addicted to a drug. If you were in this situation but are now clean and sober, a child custody attorney can assist you in proving that you are truly past the addiction.
A New Partner Makes the Environment Unsafe
A parent entering a new relationship does not automatically result in any modification to a custody arrangement. However, if the new partner is engaging in behavior that could harm the child, you may be able to modify the custody agreement. For example, if the other parent moves in with a person who has been convicted of domestic violence in the past, you may be able to justify petitioning for a custody change. Whether or not you are actually granted custody will depend on you proving that the new partner poses a clear and present threat to the children.
The Other Parent Has Been Arrested
Any type of criminal charges can be used to suggest that the other parent is an unfit guardian for your child. Even if they are not convicted, repeated incidents that required police intervention may help you petition for custody. This is particularly likely to result in a successful petition for custody if the other parent is convicted of some type of violent crime that endangers the child's safety.
A Parent Is Relocating
A parent relocating may not always allow you to get custody, but the court typically favors an arrangement that lets the child have contact with both parents at similar consistency to the initial custody agreement. In some cases, the court may put limitations on how far away a parent can move.
The Other Parent Is Violating Custody Agreements
A minor custody violation, such as being slightly late to pick up a child, is normally not enough to justify a petition for custody. However, a post-judgment lawyer might be able to argue that you should be granted custody if the agreement violations are significant and constant. You would have to prove that the other parent's custody violations are negatively and significantly affecting your child.
There are many other circumstances that may warrant a change in custody. Petitioning for custody of your child will be based on your own unique circumstances. At Ruvolo Law, we can work with you to determine whether a change in circumstances will help you to get custody of your child.