Custody cases are complicated and highly emotional for parents. The court must review many personal aspects of the family’s lives and review what sort of schedule and arrangement will work best for the children. The schedule may reflect the circumstances at the time when parents finalize a divorce or otherwise seek the court’s assistance in creating a child custody plan but can fail to make sense as the family changes.
When the circumstances that led to the creation of a custody order change, parents might find that the order also needs to change. If you feel that your custody agreement is no longer in the best interests of the children. It may be time to talk to a Frederick child custody modification lawyer. Courts have the power to make changes to custody arrangements, in the best interests of the minor children but if you are the person seeking such modifications, you will have the burden of proof to show why there are material changes that effect the best interest of the children.
Best Interests of the Children Standard in Modification of Custody
The phrase “best interests of the children” is a vital aspect of family law in Maryland. Courts will put the interests of the children above those of the parents at all times, regardless of what is best for the parents. Some factors might include keeping the children in their current residential home, allowing them to continue to attend the same school, or spending more time with the parent who traditionally performed most of the parental duties.
The court generally believes that it is best for the child to spend a significant amount of time with both parents, as long as both parents are fit and proper. Over time, the best interests of the children may change.
For example, if a parent with primary custody moves, the child might be better off spending more time at the other parent’s home to keep them closer to their school, friends, and community. Many circumstances may lead to the need to modify custody, but the modifications will have to meet the Maryland requirements of the law and the best interests of the child requirement, just as the original order should have done.
Substantial Chance in Circumstances and Modifications
Modifying a child custody agreement will require the moving party to prove that a significant material change has occurred in the child’s life. This is not an easy threshold to meet as Courts do not want parents to be back in court every year attempting to relitigate a child custody decision.
In Maryland, a parent seeking to modify a child custody agreement will have to show that a substantial change in circumstances justifies the modification of the custody order. As mentioned, a parent’s decision to move is one reason a court might even consider to hear a modification case. A parent remarrying or taking on a new job that requires them to travel frequently are other possible reasons to request modifications.
Parents who want to change custody agreements will need to remember that not only do they need a material change in circumstances, but they will also need to show that their the change affects the best interests of the child. It could be that a parent gets remarried or moves, but the custody arrangement is still suiting the child’s needs. A skilled Frederick family lawyer can help evaluate a case to determine a parent’s options.
Hiring a Frederick Child Custody Modification Attorney
Custody arrangements sometimes need to change as children get older and as life inevitably throws a family some curveballs. The courts recognize this and can alter agreements to create decisions that will support the needs of the children.
As a parent, you might understand that your original agreement is no longer the optimal arrangement for your children. A Frederick child custody modifications lawyer can guide you through the legal process to make any necessary changes.