The original child custody order that you received when you were first divorced – or first sought an order with your children’s other parent outside of marriage – may have suited you, your ex, and your children’s needs and schedules perfectly at the time. As your children grow and your lives evolve, however, your child custody order may not make as much sense as it once did. The law recognizes that the only constant when it comes to children is change, and as a result, courts address the issue of child custody modifications on a regular basis. If you need a child custody modification, reach out to an experienced Kentucky family law attorney today.
Your Child Custody Orders
An important point to make before delving into child custody modifications is that, regardless of how outdated your original child custody orders are, they remain legally enforceable. This means that, even if you and your children’s other parent are in total agreement about the changes you’re making, it is in your best interest to make the modification official with the court. If the changes you’ve made are mutually agreeable and you are both willing to sign off on them, the court will almost certainly implement the modification without the need for a hearing. If you skip this step, however, there is nothing to stop your children’s other parent from claiming you are in contempt of the original orders (which continue to stand) if he or she decides to do so.
Modifying Your Child Custody Orders
In order to modify your child custody orders (if you and your ex are not in agreement on the matter), you’ll need to request a hearing with the court. Unless there is a compelling reason for doing so, child custody orders generally aren’t modified within the first two years of being issued. The most important point to keep in mind when it comes to rulings that relate to children is that they are always based on the best interests of those children. Several primary considerations that the courts factor into best-interest determinations include:
- Each parent’s preferences
- Each child’s preferences (as deemed appropriate)
- Each child’s relationship with each parent, his or her siblings, and any other people who may significantly affect his or her best interests
- Each parent’s willingness and ability to fully participate in parenting the children
- Each child’s level of adjustment to his or her home, school, and community
- The mental and physical health of both parents and each child
- Whether or not domestic abuse plays a role in the case
- The likelihood that each parent will support and foster each child’s ongoing relationship with the other parent
- Any other factor that the court determines is relevant
You Need an Experienced Kentucky Family Law Attorney on Your Side
The trusted family law attorneys at Stotts Law, PLLC, in Georgetown, Kentucky, dedicate their practice to skillfully and successfully protecting the parental rights of clients like you. We’re here to help, so please don’t delay reaching out to schedule a consultation or call us at 502-383-1550 for more information.