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Five situations that may warrant a custody modification

On Behalf of | Oct 7, 2022 | Family Law

There’s a lot at stake in your child custody dispute. The outcome, whether litigated or negotiated, can dictate how your child is raised and what sort of relationship you will have with them. And although you might breathe a sigh of relief once your initial custody order is issued, the truth of the matter is that changed circumstances may eventually render that order nonfunctional or inappropriate.

Are you in that situation now? Do you feel like your child custody order no longer supports your child’s best interests? If so, you might want to start thinking about seeking a custody modification. Here, you can either seek to change what current visitation with the noncustodial parent looks like, or you might be able to obtain physical custody if you’re currently not the primary physical custodian.

But what sorts of arguments support a modification request?

If you’re going to seek some sort of custody modification, you need to be prepared to make arguments to back up your request. And these arguments have to be based on facts, not just emotional responses, which can sometimes be tricky to do. However, there are certain situations that would likely warrant a request for modification, including the following:

  1. Abuse or neglect: Your child’s physical, emotional and psychological safety comes first. If your child has been subjected to abuse or neglect, you should consider immediately seeking modification. Getting records from social services can help support your case here.
  2. Parental substance abuse: If your child’s other parent is involved in drug or alcohol abuse, your child is at risk. In fact, studies have shown that children who are exposed to parental substance abuse can develop anxiety, depression, behavioral issues and poor school performance.
  3. Mental health issues: Mental health problems are common in California, but a lot of parents are able to effectively parent while they treat their condition. Sometimes, though, a parent foregoes needed treatment, which can directly impact parenting abilities and child safety.
  4. Income changes: Your child’s physical custodian has to be able to meet the child’s basic needs. This, of course, requires a certain amount of financial stability. If your child’s other parent’s income decreases to the point that they can’t properly care for the child, modification is probably warranted.
  5. Parental alienation or interference: The court expects that parents will work together to raise their child in a healthy atmosphere. If your child’s other parent has been manipulating your child to negatively impact your relationship with the child, or if the other parent is simply blocking your access to the child, the court is probably going to be receptive to an argument for modification.

These are just some of the circumstances that may warrant a modification request. Remember, though, that the court is going to order whatever it believes is in the child’s best interests. So, if any other situations arise that you think are detrimental to your child’s well-being, you may want to consider requesting a custody modification.

Legal help is here if you need it

There are a lot of emotions that can be tied up in a custody dispute. That can make it hard to see the forest for the trees , which may end up leading to inadequate legal arguments that are quickly swatted down by the other parent.

That’s why you may find it beneficial to have an experienced family law attorney on your side who can help you craft the clear, direct, and well-founded arguments that you need on your side. If you’d like to learn more about what that kind of assistance would look like, we encourage you to reach out to those firms that interest you to discuss the matter further.