My custody plan isn’t working: what do I do next?
Going through a divorce is one of the most difficult things you will do. You may have an especially hard time of it if there are children involved. Coming to a child custody agreement requires patience, flexibility, and a good faith effort on both sides. However, not all such agreements can go on indefinitely. You and your ex will meet new people, get new jobs, and may find yourselves in circumstances that require a modification of the original Fulton County divorce and child custody arrangement.
When your Child Custody Plan Is Not Working
To modify your child custody agreement, you can either work out a new plan with your ex and submit it to the court for approval or, if you cannot get your ex to agree, you can ask the court to rule on the changes you propose.
The court will only modify child custody orders under certain circumstances, and they always prioritize the interests of the child. The best way to change a child custody plan that is not working is to negotiate with your ex. If you can come up with a new arrangement that works for both of you and serves the interest of your child, you will have a better chance of getting it through the courts.
A Fulton County child custody attorney can help you in this endeavor. They can help you anticipate and resolve problems that may be highlighted by your ex and the judge.
The Factors Courts Consider
To get a court to agree to a modification, you will need to demonstrate significant changes in your circumstances. These are some of the valid reasons a judge will consider:
- You need to make a long-distance move for work or to care for an ill or elderly relative
- There has been a change to your work schedule
- There has been a change in your or your ex’s ability to care for the child
- There has been a significant shift in the child’s needs
You may not need to prove anything if there is sufficient evidence that the current child custody arrangement does not meet the child’s needs. And you will have an easier time of getting a judge to sign off on a modification order if your ex agrees with your proposed changes. Child custody modifications can also be requested by the child once they have reached a certain age. In the state of Georgia, a child can choose which parent they want to live with when they turn 14.
Evidence to Justify the Changes
If you need to show evidence that demonstrates the need for modified orders, you can present the following to the court:
- A custody journal that highlights problems as they have occurred
- Documents that prove your new work schedule
- A copy of a new job offer
- Statements from doctors, teachers, or caregivers
- Photos, emails, text messages, or social media posts related to the proposed changes
When You and Your Ex Cannot Agree
If your ex insists on fighting the proposed changes, you may need to go through a litigation process. The judge will decide on your modification request in a hearing. The wait time for such a hearing depends on the court’s calendar. You may wait a couple of weeks or a few months. However, you can put in a request to expedite the hearing if your child is in danger. You must follow the current child custody orders until you receive the judge’s ruling.
At the hearing, both you and your ex can present evidence to support your respective positions. To prevail in such a case, you must be organized and thorough in the way that you gather and submit evidence. Working with a Fulton County divorce attorney can help you make the best case possible for modifying your child custody agreement. You should speak with a Fulton County child custody lawyer at the Fuller Law Group to review your legal options.