Most parents who are not divorce lawyers often sense when physical custody should be modified. Little bits of information they receive from the kids, teachers, friends tell them this. A parent can help his or her lawyer prepare a modification case and save legal fees by helping answer some key questions to the following checklist.
Try to answers these questions in advance of consulting with your attorney:
- How are the children doing in school?
- What has changed with the parent(s) and children since the last custody order?
- Do the parents have new significant others or spouses?
- Is a parent moving or has moved?
- Are the children changing schools due to age or redistricting?
- Does a parent, step-parent or child have a new physical or mental disability?
- Where are the majority of the children’s friends and activities located, and has this changed?
- Have there been changes in those who provide for the child’s caregiving?
- Is there a pattern of instability with one of the parents, such as moves, job-switching, and relationship changes?
- Has there been a criminal arrest or conviction of a parent or step-parent?
- Is the child asking to spend more time with a parent?
The parent must show in court that there has been a substantial change in circumstances in the children’s lives, and the answers to the checklist questions may individually or cumulatively reach this threshold. After reviewing the above questions, if you feel fairly certain that a threshold has been reached, you might see an attorney to discuss these issues.