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A parent’s guide to modifying child custody orders

On Behalf of | Jun 7, 2024 | Family Law

When parents go through a divorce, it opens the door for a wave of changes that can profoundly affect everyone’s lives, especially the children. To accommodate these new circumstances, parents craft a child custody arrangement that fits family circumstances at the time of the divorce.

However, as life moves forward, these circumstances can change in unexpected ways. Perhaps the divorce led to new job opportunities or challenges for a parent, or maybe it necessitated a move to a different city. In such scenarios, the original custody agreement might no longer serve the best interests of the child. It becomes crucial to reassess and potentially modify your child custody agreement to ensure it aligns with the current and future needs of your child. But what exactly are the significant changes that warrant such modifications?

Significant changes in circumstances

One of the most common reasons to seek a modification of a child custody order is a significant change in circumstances. This could include changes in your job, such as shifts in work hours, a new job that requires more travel or even job loss. Relocation is another factor, whether it is moving to a new city or state for better opportunities or to be closer to family. Additionally, as your child grows, their needs can evolve significantly–from changes in educational requirements to health-related needs.

Health and safety concerns

If you believe that your child’s physical and emotional health is at risk under the current custody arrangement, it is vital to act as soon as possible. This might be due to a variety of reasons, such as one parent’s inability to provide a safe environment or emerging issues of substance abuse.

The child’s preferences

In Maryland, like in many other states, the child’s preferences play a crucial role in the court’s decision for custody arrangements. If your child feels strongly about living with one parent more than the other and can thoughtfully explain their reasons, this might be a good time to consider adjusting the custody order to better suit their wishes.

As your family goes on with life after divorce, it is only natural to reassess the arrangements that you once set in place. Understanding when you can modify a child custody order can make a significant difference in your child’s life and development. Additionally, you might also want to seek advice from legal professionals who understand the sensitivity and complexity of your case.