Brentwood Modification of Child Custody Lawyer
Parenting plans and child custody agreements are generally intended to be permanent, thereby providing a child with stability and predictability in an uncertain time. It is the nature of children, however, to grow and change, so it’s not uncommon for two parents to find themselves needing to modify those plans down the road. Doing so requires compliance with strict court procedures, so if you live in Tennessee and have concerns about the workability of your own parenting plan, please reach out to one of our dedicated Brentwood child custody modification attorneys for assistance.
When Can Parents Modify a Child Custody Agreement?
There are two conditions that apply to every attempt to modify a child custody agreement. First, any change must be the result of a material change in one of the party’s circumstances. Basically, the petitioner will need to provide evidence of a child’s changing needs due to age, or demonstrate that the parent’s living or working conditions significantly affect his or her ability to parent the child, before a court will order a modification of the current parenting plan. These are by no means, however, the only types of changes that could qualify as material enough to warrant a modification, making it especially important for those who are unsure about the strength of their case, to speak with an attorney before moving forward.
Secondly, the proposed modification must be in the child’s best interests before a court will approve it. While this may seem like a straightforward standard, it is actually quite subjective, so it is ultimately up to the judge to decide, on a case by case basis, what would be best for a particular child. In conducting this assessment, the judge will weigh a number of factors, including the child’s age and current needs, as well as his or her relationship with both parents. In fact, if a child is mature enough to express an opinion on the issue, a judge may also ask for the child’s preference when making the decision. Only when these two requirements have been met can a parent successfully petition a court to change a parenting plan.
What is the Procedure for Modifying a Custody Order?
There are a couple of ways to modify a child custody order, one of which is through a voluntary agreement. This is an option for parents who both agree that the current parenting plan no longer meets a child’s needs. Couples who go this route will need to submit a modified agreement to the court for approval and ratification. If, however, two parents do not agree on the proposed changes, a court will hear the petitioning parent’s request and supporting evidence, as well as the other parent’s claims before making a decision based on what would be best for the child in question.
Do You Need Help Modifying a Parenting Plan?
Call Beal, Nations & Crutcher 615-861-2304 to speak with an experienced Brentwood child custody modification attorney about the process of changing your own parenting plan.