After a divorce has been finalized, and there are children involved, typically an agreement is drawn up that outlines specific guidelines for the children of the former couple. This agreement will outline child custody arrangements and child support specifics that have been agreed upon and approved by a judge to be legally enforced. Child custody agreements can be subject to change due to significant circumstances while always trying to keep the best interests of the children in mind. In order to have a child custody agreement changed after a divorce, both parents must agree with any modifications that are being made. The new proposed agreement can then be taken to the judge for approval. When these modifications are made in the best interest of the child or children involved, a judge is likely to grant your request and have the child custody be changed even after a divorce has been finalized. 

The Process of Changing Custody

After both parents have agreed on the modifications that need to be made, you will have to take it before a judge to get it legally approved so it can be enforced. Verbal agreements between the former couple hold no legal weight, so it is vital to take the proper steps to ensure the validity of this new agreement. Affordable family law attorneys can assist through this process to make sure you take the appropriate steps to protect your rights and the interest of your children. There are a few steps to take to legally change a child custody agreement after a divorce.

  • File a Petition: After the parents have decided on new terms, the first step to getting child custody changed is to file a petition with the same court you went through for your divorce and the first child custody agreement.
  • File with the Court Clerk: Take all necessary documents to the court clerk’s office to be filed and they will assign you a court date to go over the proposed arrangement.
  • Motion to be Served: Papers of the modification will be served typically three weeks before the court date. 
  • Attend the Court Hearing: Bring the proper documentation to your court hearing explaining the necessary changes for the judge to consider. If both parents were unable to agree on new terms, a judge will assist in determining a new agreement to be considered.

Legal Reasons to Change Child Custody

While you are able to change child custody agreements after a divorce, a judge will need substantial evidence in order to consider granting this request. Judges will always consider what is in the best interest of the children involved, especially if it deals with a significant change that occurred in one of the parents’ lives. When significant and permanent changes occur with one of the parents, like moving to a different state, physical or mental challenges, or change in financial circumstances, it can qualify as a legal reason to change child custody. In some cases, a change in child custody can be granted if one parent was not abiding by the original child custody agreement. This can help ensure that the children are receiving the proper care they need with an updated custody agreement. 

Consulting a Child Custody Attorney

Challenges with child custody agreements can arise even in the most straight-forward of circumstances. Attorneys at Affordable Family Law are specifically trained to create custody arguments to help make sure you are getting the best possible outcome for your situation and family. These attorneys can walk you through the steps of effectively getting your request for child custody to be granted, while protecting the interests of what is most important to you – your children. Contact our team at Affordable Family Law if you are interested in changing your child custody agreement after your divorce and we can be your neutral partner in creating a beneficial agreement for your family.