Parenting children with a former spouse or partner requires flexibility, patience, and teamwork. When existing time-sharing or custody arrangements no longer work for a family, parents can request formal changes to their child-sharing agreement before a judge. However, these decisions take much consideration and deliberation, so you may want to reach out to our qualified legal team for advice on how to pursue a Fulton County child custody modification.
A judge may issue a child custody order during a divorce or child custody case, which usually approves a parenting plan that the parties independently negotiated. However, when parents cannot decide on things like child custody or parenting time, a court may make these decisions for them.
Neither parent has an advantage over the other when it comes to deciding who gets custody of children. A judge would examine both parents’ relationships with their children, both parties’ abilities to co-parent with each other, the custodial preferences of children ages 11 and older, both parents’ home environments and stability, and any other factors that may affect a child’s wellbeing.
After a child custody order is entered, parents cannot change who has legal or physical custody without approval from a judge. While they can agree to make informal changes to their parenting plan, changing custody statuses requires another court order.
To modify a child custody agreement in Fulton County, a parent must show that there has been a material change in their circumstances. This change must have taken place after their prior custody order and directly affect their children’s needs enough to warrant a modification.
A material change in circumstances must be based on more than a parent’s desire to spend more time with their children. A finalized custody order cannot be changed without justification that did not exist at the time it was entered. Additionally, parents can generally only apply for a modification of their child custody order once every two years, according to the Official Code of Georgia §19-9-3.
To modify child custody, parents must prove that a change in circumstances has a substantial impact on their children’s welfare and that the condition did not exist when the judge initially decided custody. A material change can take many forms—like a parent receiving a job offer in a different state, for instance. Anything that might affect children’s living arrangements, education, or health may be considered a material change.
It is also crucial that a change in circumstances happens after an initial child custody order. For example, if an alcoholic parent shares custody with their children’s other parent, their substance use would not be considered a material change in circumstances unless their actions harm their kids. However, if a situation changes enough to impact a kid’s wellbeing, a Fulton County child custody modification may be necessary.
Parents who want to modify their child custody order should consult with an experienced family law attorney about their options beforehand. Proving a material change in circumstances that could justify a modification can be difficult, but the safety and happiness of your children are worth the effort. Contact our team of skilled attorneys for more information about Fulton County child custody modification.
Atlanta Divorce Law Group