Parents who discover that a child custody arrangement no longer works as well as it once did are often able to file a request for the court to modify the existing custody order. This article reviews several of the most common reasons why a parent might seek to modify an existing child custody order. In these situations, it is often a wise idea to obtain the assistance of an experienced family law attorney who has helped many other families navigate custody modifications.
Moving Away from the Area
If the parent who has primary custody wants to move, a court will consider modifying the existing custody order. In situations in which the other parent is able to establish that moving away would be of detriment to the child, the court might decide not to modify the custody order. No matter what custody decision is made, the custodial parent must tell the noncustodial parent about the desired relocation.
The Child Wants to Live with the Other Parent
Judges in Georgia tend to respect requests from minors about which parent they would like to live with, but in some situations will also consider other factors before modifying a custody order. If a child is over the age of 11, a judge will sometimes appoint a guardian ad litem who will be tasked with representing the child’s best interests in a court of law. The report that the guardian ad litem provides the judge about what is in the child’s best interest will be influenced by examination of the child’s educational background, home environment, and other daily life details. Unless there is a reason to request modification, children are required to wait two years before seeking a subsequent change. For this reason, children should be certain when they seek a custody modification that they will not change their minds about anything in the near future.
When the Child is in Danger
In situations in which the court determines that the custodial parent is not able to properly care for the child or the child is in danger of being harmed, the court will often seek to modify an existing custody order. Some of the situations that might be viewed as dangerous include when a parent becomes dependent on alcohol or drugs, has an untreated mental illness, is charged with domestic violence against the child or any other family member, and when the child has expressed an unwillingness to remain in the parent’s home. In these situations, courts often promptly respond and make a decision to modify the existing custody order.
Speak with a Family Law Attorney Today
If you need assistance navigating a custody order, do not hesitate to contact our law firm. At Vayman & Teitelbaum P.C., we have helped numerous people navigate custody modifications and we know what it takes to make sure that these orders are changed by a judge. Contact our law office today to schedule a free initial consultation.