What used to be called custody and visitation plans now come under the heading of parenting plans. This term holds several child-centered issues together, namely child support, issues about health coverage, legal and physical child custody, and visitation scheduling. While most parents strive to create the best parenting plan possible for a child when divorce occurs, changes that naturally happen can make those plans obsolete. Read on and find out what might trigger a need to make a change in custody plans and how to proceed with the changes.
The Child Triggers a Need for Change
As a child gets older, the way they want to spend their time can change. While even teenagers should visit with both parents often, allowing the child to make some decisions about when and how much visiting they do may be wise. If a child is old enough, parents should listen to their needs and take action. If both parents agree on making a visitation or custody change, they should ask for a custody hearing and bring the case before the judge. In most cases, judges will allow changes to be made if it is in the best interests of the child. If the parents don't agree, things can get trickier. In most cases, judges are very reluctant to disturb a custody situation that has, up to now, been working well. If the parents cannot come to a new agreement, the judge may order that a child study be performed to evaluate the situation. When the custodial rights of one parent are at stake, there should be compelling reasons to make a change in custody.
The Parent Triggers a Need for Change
When a parent wants to make a change in custody or visitation arrangements, the process is the same. A hearing is scheduled and the issue comes before the family court judge. Parents should be warned, however, that the court won't change an agreement for the benefit of a parent. The parent requesting the change has to show that any changes made are to the benefit of the child. Unfortunately, there can be numerous behavioral issues with parenting that might warrant a change. For example:
- Physical, psychological, or sexual abuse
- Addiction issues
- Allowing the child to come into contact with bad influences
- Refusal to follow the custody and visitation agreement
- Not seeking medical care for a child in need
- Allowing the child to miss school without good reason
The parent asking for a change has to have more than allegations. They should expect to show proof using police reports, arrest records, photographs, and witness statements. If you believe a change needs to be made in custody or visitation, speak to a child custody lawyer for more information.