Child Custody Modification
Woodstock Child Custody Law Firm Helping You When You Need it Most
As a parent, going through a divorce in Georgia involves establishing child custody rights–usually with the help of a child custody law firm. Except in unusual circumstances, both parents have the right to continue to play an active role in their children’s lives after their divorce, and the courts require divorcing parents to establish a custody arrangement that reflects the “best interests” of their children. Non-married parents may also find themselves in need of custody help, as well. Circumstances may change after you create a parenting plan, and a consultation with a lawyer is the best way to handle an adjustment.
While divorce decrees are generally considered final, there are grounds for seeking to modify a child custody arrangement (or parenting plan) in Georgia. If your custody arrangement no longer works for your personal and family circumstances, we encourage you to contact our Alpharetta child custody law firm to discuss your options with one of our attorneys.
When Can You Modify Child Custody in Georgia?
Since child custody is established by court order, modifying custody requires a court order as well. You can seek a court order modifying child custody by filing a petition with the appropriate court. Unless and until a judge formally modifies your existing custody order, you should not deviate from your current custody and visitation schedule. Doing so can have serious consequences, including being held in contempt of court. It can also make it more difficult for you to obtain the modification you desire.
What Constitutes a “Material” Change in Circumstances for Custody Issues?
Although there are many legitimate reasons why a parent may want or need to modify an existing child custody order, the Georgia courts require evidence of a “material” change in circumstances. In other words, simply wanting a change in routine isn’t enough. Minor changes will be insufficient to warrant a petition for modification as well, although what constitutes a “minor” change can vary depending upon the specific circumstances involved.
Examples of changes in circumstances that will often qualify as “material” for purposes of seeking to modify child custody in Georgia include:
- One parent has moved (or is planning to move) a significant distance away due to a change in employment;
- One parent has remarried or is cohabitating with a new partner; and,
- The parents’ current custody arrangement no longer reflects their child’s best interests due to one parent’s development alcohol or drug dependence.
Can My Former Spouse and I Agree to Modify Our Parenting Plan?
While many child custody modification cases involve unilateral requests for modification, it is possible for parents to agree to modify their existing parenting plan. If you and your former spouse have both decided that a change is necessary, you can submit a revised plan to the court for approval. However, the revised plan must still reflect their children’s best interests; and, in order to ensure that your plan will be approved, you should seek help from an experienced family law attorney.
Contact Our Alpharetta Child Custody Law Firm to Learn More
North Metro Litigators is a Georgia family law firm with offices in Alpharetta and Woodstock. If you have questions about child custody modification and would like to speak with an attorney, we encourage you to call 678-264-6237 or contact us online for a free initial consultation.