As most people understand and accept, rarely does life stand still. As time goes on, where you live, how much money you make and who you associate with are likely to change — it’s a natural part of life.
Thus, it is perhaps unsurprising that many parents find the need to modify their child custody agreements, especially if those agreements were established years in the past. But how can you make this happen?
The first step in the process is to communicate your interest in changing your custody arrangement with the other parent as soon as possible. This will obviously be easier if you have an amicable relationship with that person, but you should make contact and explain the situation regardless of the circumstances between the two of you.
In general, courts will only allow custody agreements to be modified if there is an allegation that the children are endangered under the current custody arrangement and a change in custody would be in the best interests of the kids in question. Judges and court officials are hesitant to disrupt children’s lives, and so they look very closely at the reasons behind the modification request and how it could potentially impact the kids.
Another possible reason for a custody modification is relocation. If you lose your job, for example, and are forced to accept another job in a different part of the state (or out of state), you might not be able to adhere to your previously established custody and parenting schedule. In this situation, the judge would examine whether a change would be in the best interests of the children, and look at whether the move could have been avoided, if the move actually renders the parenting schedule impossible and if the new arrangement would harm the children in any feasible way.
There are also other reasons to potentially seek a custody modification, including when one parent passes away or if the other parent fails to cooperate with the established agreement. Generally speaking, modifying custody and/or significantly altering a parenting time schedule can be difficult to achieve. But there are situations that may warrant it.
If you would like to learn more about child custody modifications in Minnesota, speak with an experienced divorce and family law attorney at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A.
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