Whether you are just getting divorced or have been divorced for several years, child custody arrangements can be one of the most contentious parts of not being with your child’s other parent. Many parents find it nearly impossible to agree on these types of arrangements, so the courts step in and make the arrangement for them. However, once the arrangement is reached, Maryland courts expect it to be permanent. It will be unrealistic and burdensome for the court to have parents asking to change their custody orders all the time.
However, the courts recognize that there are situations in which modifications must be made to custody arrangements. In these cases, they will consider making changes. But what is the best way to go about making changes to a Maryland custody agreement?
Consider Speaking with Your Child’s Other Parent
If you have somewhat of an amicable relationship with your child’s other parent, you might discuss potential changes to your custody plan with them. Being able to do so is the best-case scenario. However, if you do agree to changes, be sure to submit them to the court for official approval. An unapproved change can result in legal trouble in the future if your ex-spouse ever denies agreeing to the changes. For example, you can be found in contempt of court, face jail time, and have your parenting time reduced or taken away. Therefore, always seek the official approval of the court, no matter how amicable your relationship with your ex-spouse might seem.
Suppose you don’t have an amicable relationship. In that case, you can have your Maryland family law attorney attempt speaking with your child’s other parent or their attorney to see if changes can be made to the plan. Even still, any modifications should go through the court.
Seek Court Approval
When the other parent is unwilling to negotiate or make changes, it will be necessary to ask the court directly for what you need. Courts will consider child custody modifications in events such as:
- The child is in danger—for example, the other parent is abusing them, putting them in dangerous situations with other people, or misusing or addicted to drugs and alcohol
- The other parent desires to relocate
- A parent’s situation has changed
- The child does not want to continue visitation
- The child’s needs have changed
- The other parent repeatedly violates custody orders
- The custodial parent has died
The parent requesting the modification must present clear and convincing evidence supporting their reasoning for the necessary change. In addition, they need to determine that the requested modification is in the best interest of the child.
Having a well-versed child custody lawyer can help in this process as they will be familiar with what reasons local courts allow modifications. They can help you establish the circumstances that warrant the modification and suggest changes that will be in your child’s best interest. In fact, experienced attorneys can often offer creative solutions from which all parties will benefit.
Meet with an Experienced Maryland Child Custody Attorney to Discuss Your Needs Today
Whatever your child custody needs or modifications might be, the most important thing you can do is hire an experienced Maryland child custody attorney to discuss your next steps. Involving an attorney in all custody matters is the best way to protect you and your child, especially when your relationship with their other parent isn’t amicable. Even when it is, you can’t go wrong with an attorney on your side to inform you of your rights and ensure they are upheld.