Top Reasons to Modify or Change Mesa Child Custody Agreements Post-Divorce
Child custody is one of the most acrimonious issues in a divorce settlement. You may be able to let the house go, but it will be a lot harder letting your children go — even just for every other weekend. Most parents want to have all the time with their children that they can get. That puts two soon-to-be-former spouses in a bitter tug-of-war that can drag on for months.
Once the divorce and the child custody agreement are final, you may think that’s the end of it. In reality, a child custody agreement is never final. Arizona law allows you to revisit a custody agreement at any time, and changes can be made so long as they are in the best interests of the child.
Where these issues can get contentious is defining what is the “best interest of the child.” Working with a child custody lawyer can help you understand how specific issues are typically handled by the court and how you can make the best case to win the child custody agreement that you want.
Here are a few of the top reasons why the courts will modify or change a child custody agreement after a divorce:
The courts want children to be in a stable and nurturing environment. Job troubles can make an environment unstable. Job troubles may mean being unemployed, working only part time, or constantly changing jobs (either as a result of being fired or quitting). The parent who is experiencing these job issues may not be able to pay for basic needs such as rent or electricity, or they may not have the money for things like new clothes or school lunches.
Your Arizona divorce attorney can petition the court with evidence of these new job problems to make the argument to give you more time with the children or to gain sole custody.
A parent who wants to move out of state with the children will have to petition the court for permission. But moving to a new city or just across town isn’t cause for any action — unless that parent is constantly moving and creating an unstable environment for the children. You can argue that these frequent moves are disruptive and harmful to the children and that you should have a greater share of custody.
Simply dating isn’t harmful to children. However, constantly introducing children to new partners may be. You may be able to petition the court for a change in the custody agreement if your former spouse has multiple relationships and those relationships can shown to be harmful to the children.
This is a tricky area since “multiple relationships” can be subjective, as can the understanding of these relationships effect on the children. One person might think that two relationships in a year are too many, while another might have a higher bar. This is why it’s important to work with a child custody lawyer to help you understand how the situation could be interpreted legally and to present the best argument to the court for a custody modification.
After your divorce attorney settles your original custody agreement, you think that everything will move forward as planned. You see the kids on the days and weekends that were discussed, and your spouse has them at the other times. But then reality begins, and your ex starts to deny you the visitation rights that you were promised.
If your ex is denying your visitation rights, that is definitely reason to consult with a child custody lawyer and petition the court.
Lifestyle issues encompass a variety of circumstances, such as a former spouse staying out late at night, keeping questionable friends, drinking too much, or using drugs. Even strict religious practices can be seen as negative to the child. Unless a spouse is engaging in clearly destructive behavior, such as abusing drugs, proving that lifestyle issues are detrimental to the child can be tough because they are so subjective. Here’s another instance that working with an Arizona child custody lawyer is critical.
Other Issues to Consider
In order to change or modify your custody agreement, you will typically have to petition the court that first decided your custody arrangement. Exceptions are made if you or your former spouse have moved or face some other circumstances that make it difficult to appear in that original court.
One or both parents have to petition the court before a chance can be made, and the petitioner has to show a substantial change in the environment to justify the modification. Your former spouse simply have a new job or a new girlfriend isn’t enough to ask for a greater custody share — you have to show that it harms the child and that the child would be best served by a new custody arrangement.
In some cases, the preferences of the child are taken into consideration if the child is old enough and shows a level of emotional and intellectual maturity. However, a child’s desire to live with a different parent typically isn’t enough to motivate a change in a child custody arrangement.
Finally, even if both parents have already agreed to a change in the child custody arrangement, they will still have to petition the court to make the formal change.
Working with the right child custody lawyer is key to getting the custody arrangement that you want. My AZ Lawyers helps you find the right attorneys to help with your case. Our Arizona family lawyers have experience in the area of law you need, including child custody, divorce, and other family law issues. If you have recently become separated, a divorce lawyer from our team can help you navigate that process and can also handle your child custody case. Our attorneys provide compassionate yet expert representation to help you get the results you need. Contact us today for more information and to get a free consultation.
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