Family Law Attorney
Even if both people have the best of intentions, sometimes marriages simply do not work out. If the married couple had shared children together, they may then have to negotiate terms of the custody agreement. While these guidelines may have worked at the time of the divorce, perhaps one parent decides they want child custody orders to be modified. While this is possible, there are certain steps a parent must go through in order to fight for full custody.
Sometimes, life circumstances change and a parent wants to be granted full custody of their children. Here are the five ways a parent may go about doing so:
#1 Visit State Laws Regarding Child Custody
It can help to meet with an attorney who is familiar with child custody laws, for guidance on how to fight for full custody of your children. Some states require that a specific amount of time has to pass after the first child custody decree, before you can request modification.
In general, a family court judge wants to see that children have a stable dynamic with both parents that involve routine. A judge may frown upon frequent requests for changes regarding child custody. Many states necessitate that a huge change of circumstance has happened, before the court will consider modifying custody terms.
#2 Gather Proof and Materials
Whether or not your request for child custody changes is approved, can depend on how much evidence you bring forward. The more information and details you have, the more it looks like you truly took the time to consider modification. Circumstances that are likely to result in a change of child custody terms include:
- The other parent has developed a drug and/or alcohol problem that puts the children at risk for harm
- The other parent has brought in a new significant other or roommate into the home, who is abusive or neglectful to the children
- The other parent has abandoned or otherwise been careless when it comes to taking care of the children
#3 File a Motion for Custody Modification
Go to the courthouse where you filed for divorce originally, and talk with the court clerk about what forms you need to fill out to file a motion of child custody modification. In these documents, you are to state the changes you want to make with an explanation as to why.
#4 Complete Paperwork
Complete the motion for child custody modification and attach documents of proof that supports your claims about the other parent, or in regards to your change in circumstances. Be sure to label each document so the family court judge who reviews your motion can easily read through and evaluate what you have turned in. Depending on your state, a copy of the motion may be mailed to your former spouse or hand-delivered by a county sheriff.
#5 Attend the Hearing
Show up to the scheduled court hearing ready to prove as to why you are the best parent to have full custody of your children. Hiring an child custody lawyer Rockville, MD trusts to help you prepare for such a hearing can be useful, so you can walk into the courtroom feeling confident and organized.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at The Law Office of Daniel J. Wright for their insight into child custody and family law.