As domestic advocates, Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys frequently are consulted and accept child custody modification cases. In order to modify physical custody, the moving parent must show there has been a substantial change in the child’s environment and the modification is in the child’s best interests.
We find most post-divorce child custody modification cases fall within three (3) categories. The first is where a party is still re-litigating the past. The statutory rule nevertheless prohibits a trial court from hearing evidence occurring before the prior custody order. Thus, if this is the case, it is unlikely to be successful.
The two (2) other types of cases occur where there is “smoking gun” evidence demonstrating a substantial change in circumstances. An example would be a custodial parent’s arrest for drug dealing. In the balance of cases, which are the majority, a number of subtle changes may come into play.
Any one such change or event may be (and probably is) inconsequential. Collectively, however, these may paint a story more than the sum of its parts. Stated differently, taken as a whole, there has been enough change to necessitate a change in custody.
Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. finds parents who desire to modify custody of the children who fall into the final category can significantly aid counsels by gathering the following materials post-order and bringing them to their attorney :
- Prior custody order(s) and CCS.
- Report cards.
- School records.
- Attendance records.
- Medical records.
- Dental records.
- Neighbor letters.
- List of who what, when, where, why and how post divorce or last custody order has changed–what is going on to demonstrate a substantial change.
- Re-marriages, new relationships, moves, job changes.
- Counseling records.
- E-mails and other communications reflecting any problems.
- Social media information, postings, etc. relevant to the changes.
- List of care-givers.
- Pictures, videos, audios demonstrating the point.
- List of contact information for all witnesses, including name, address, telephone number and what they have first-hand information about.
- List of documents to obtain from the other side and questions to ask.
- List of documents to obtain from third parties.
- Your work records and reports.
- Last three (3) years tax returns and last six (6) pay stubs.
- Receipts of proof of day care costs.
- Proof of cost of insurance.
With these check list items, your advocate can more efficiently hone in on the theme for your custody modification case and help you determine if it justifies moving forward and the ways to do so at this time. At Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. we hope you find this domestic child custody modification list helpful as background materials. We are available to consult with you in your case if you are still in the process of selecting counsel.