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Can I modify my custody or visitation agreement?

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It is possible to modify the terms of your custody or visitation agreement, depending on the nature of your need and request. In order for a court to be likely to honor your request, you will need to demonstrate the need for the change by documenting changes in your circumstances, the circumstances of your former spouse, or the circumstances of the child in question. Fortunately for your particular need, courts are generally more willing to adjust custody and visitation orders post-divorce than other kinds of requested changes to divorce agreements.

The two most common requests for a modification to custody orders involve adjustments to child support orders and changes in visitation schedules or primary custody. Perhaps you have experienced a decrease in income and need to seek relief from some of your child support burden, or you have experienced greater need than was expected when the orders were created, and you need to seek more child support from your spouse. To successfully seek these changes, you will need to file a motion to modify the child support orders. A judge is likely to agree to this if you can demonstrate the need through documenting which circumstances have changed since the orders were issued.

Likewise, you may need to modify your visitation arrangements or seek to switch primary custody with the other parent. Similarly to child support, you will need to file a motion to modify the existing orders. A judge will want to hear what has changed that is adversely affecting the child. Perhaps it is as simple as one parent moving to another city or state, or maybe it more serious, such as suspected abuse of the child by the other parent. Regardless of the reasoning, the more concrete documentation you can provide, the more likely your motion will be granted. The judge will always rule as he or she sees fit to serve the best interests of the child.

When it comes to sharing parenting responsibilities with a former spouse, there are hundreds of ways that it can be financially and emotionally draining. the assistance of a qualified attorney can help ensure that your rights are preserved while keeping the best interests of the child in mind.

Source: Dummies.com, "Making Changes to Your Divorce Agreement," accessed July 29, 2016

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