Parents in St. Tammany Parish who have parted ways as a couple may face child custody concerns. Even if there is an agreement in place, modifications may be necessary. To prevent disputes, it’s important to understand the steps required for making a custody modification.
The simplest way to modify custody terms is by negotiating with the other parent and formulating an amicable agreement. The new plan simply needs to be registered with the court. Judges will generally allow any changes that both parties agree to. If parents need help coming to an agreement, mediation could be beneficial.
If no agreement is possible through discussion, then the case will be decided in court. A child custody modification must be filed or there must be a petition to change the order. There will then be a hearing. After both sides state their cases, the judge will make a decision. The following reasons may be sufficient for a modification:
• The child is in danger.
• The parent will be moving.
• There are changes to the work situation for one or both parents.
• The child’s best interests are no longer served by the arrangement.
• One or both parents are not adhering to the original agreement
With documentation, the parents should inform the judge of problems that might have led to the need to change. Examples include the parenting time vs. scheduled parenting time; activities that could require a modification; proof of new employment or a new residence; statements from professionals including teachers, physicians and other experts; a statement from the child; or proof that the other parent’s fitness is in question. When seeking a child custody modification or facing family law challenges, getting legal advice may be key to a satisfactory result.