Starting out afresh

Circumstances a Family Court Can Reverse or Modify Custody Orders

by Rainier Van Der Harst

Child custody cases are usually difficult for both parents. The process is especially challenging to the parent losing some of their rights regarding child care. However, parents should understand that child custody orders consider a child's best interests. That said, child custody decisions and verdicts are not always set in stone as most people think. The reason is that child custody laws take into account the fact that circumstances can change, requiring modification of a previous order. This article highlights circumstances for reversing or modifying child custody orders.

Physical Relocation

When a family court grants one parent full custodial rights and offers the other parent visitation rights, the arrangement often works better if both partners live close to one another. It allows the co-parent with visitation rights to maintain a close relationship with their child. However, if the custodial parent plans to relocate to another area, the non-custodial partner can lodge a petition with a family court to modify the current custody arrangement. However, it is worth noting that relocation is not an automatic reason for family courts to reverse custody decisions. For instance, if the custodial parent is moving due to work obligations, it becomes tough to modify the custody agreement. Notably, the only instance a family court can use one parent's relocation as the basis to change a custody agreement is if the move threatens the existing schedule. Besides, custody reversal can be considered if the relocation affects a child's quality of life.

Refusal to Follow Custody Terms

A custody order is only valid if both parents follow the terms. For instance, if the non-custodial parent is supposed to return children at 5 pm every weekend but fails to do so every week, then the custodial parent can request custody order modification. Similarly, if the custodial parent leaves a child with a helper most times, the non-custodial parent can request a family court to add more visitation hours or days. However, you must prove that you communicated your concerns with the co-parent if you want a court to listen to your reversal or modification request. Therefore, you should work closely with a family lawyer since they know the type of evidence a court needs.

Child's Needs Have Changed 

The needs of a child differ at different stages of their lives. For instance, a toddler's needs differ significantly from a teenager's. Similarly, the needs of a child with mental issues are quite different from those of a neurotypical kid. Therefore, if a child's needs have changed significantly, one parent has a right to petition for custody order modifications. If the non-custodial parent is best suited to care for the child, it is enough reason to compel a judge to modify the custody order.

Reach out to a lawyer for more information about family law