Defending Child Custody

Defending Child Custody

SOLUTIONS FOR YOU

In many cases, the best way to avoid a drawn out and contentious legal battle is for two parties who are going through a divorce to come to an out-of-court child custody arrangement. Unfortunately, this is not always possible, in which case a court will be required to step in and create a custody plan that it deems is in the best interests of the parties’ children. Once issued, this order will be set in stone, unless one of the parents petitions the court for a modification. While in some situations, both parties will agree to the changes, this is not always the case, so if your ex-spouse has petitioned the court for a modification of an existing child custody arrangement or you are considering asking the court for the modification, it is important to contact a child custody lawyer who can help you defend you prior agreement.

Child Custody Options

Child custody arrangements generally fall under one of two classifications:

  • Sole custody, in which one parent is awarded primary custody of a child; and
  • Joint custody, in which both parties must share custody of the child.

Custody involves both legal custody, which requires both parents to share in decision making responsibilities regarding their child’s health and education, and physical custody, which refers to the amount of time that the child is physically in each parent’s care. Although courts are generally in favor of joint custody arrangements, in which both parents share physical and legal custody, this is not always the best choice for a child. In these situations, the court may award sole physical custody to one parent, but require that the non-custodial parent’s visitation rights be respected and that both parties be involved in decision making.

Changing a Custody Arrangement

As time passes, the parties’ circumstances may change. Fortunately, parents are able to request a modification of a child custody or child support order. In some situations, both parents may agree to the modification, but this is not always true, in which case the non-petitioning party will have the opportunity to defend the current plan by proving that the change is not in the child’s best interests. This will require that the non-petitioning party address specific factors, including:

  • How the change would affect the emotional ties between the child and both parents;
  • How the change would impede the non-petitioning party’s capacity to be involved in the child’s education, extracurricular activities, and religious guidance;
  • That the child has lived in a stable environment for a substantial period of time and it would be in his or her best interests to remain in the same school and near friends and family;
  • The moral fitness of the petitioning party or his or her partner;
  • The child’s reasonable preference; and
  • Each party’s willingness to facilitate a continuing relationship between the child and the other parent.

It can also be helpful in these situations for the defending party to provide statements from family members, friends, teachers, and medical providers. These individuals may be able to provide evidence of a child’s development under the current arrangement and so support the defending party’s assertions.

Call Today to Speak with a Dedicated Child Custody Lawyer About Your Case

Please contact Iafrate & Salassa at (586) 263-1600 if you or your ex-spouse is attempting to amend your custody arrangement. Our legal team can help ensure that your parental rights are protected.

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