Once a custody order is entered, the court may not modify a custody order unless the modification is in the best interest of the child. There must also be a substantial change in one or more of the factors set forth below:
In addition, if there is a pattern of domestic or family violence by either parent or evidence that the child has been cared for by a de facto custodian a custody order may be requested to be modified.
The parents may modify custody by submitting their agreement to the court. The court will review the filed agreement and determine whether or not to approve the modification of custody. If approved, the court will sign the agreement and the modification will become an order of the court. However, the court may decide to schedule a hearing to have the parties testify regarding the change of circumstances and explain how the modification of custody is in the child’s best interest.
If an agreement is unlikely or circumstances including but not limited to abuse, deterioration in physical and/or mental health, or deterioration of living conditions exist, it is imperative the parent file a petition to modify custody and request the court set a hearing. At the hearing, the parents will be able to present evidence regarding the change in circumstances and their position regarding the modification of custody.
Custody modification cases may become emotionally and financially draining for parents and children. These cases require a listening ear along with a detail-oriented approach. Prior to filing a petition to modify custody, it is important to discuss your goals and possible outcomes with an experienced Carmel custody lawyer. Joshua R. Hains is one such lawyer who brings a decade of family law practice knowledge to each and every case he evaluates. Contact the office today to set up an initial consultation.