Find out how is child custody modified in Arizona
A child custody order in Arizona is not set in stone. It focuses on the resolution of current issues but new ones may arise in the future. In such instances, a child custody modification may be pursued.
A legal agreement between two parents is finalized in court during the marriage dissolution process. If the best interest of the child has changed, however, a new procedure can be triggered for the purpose of modifying the terms and conditions of the child support arrangement.
When Can a Child Custody Modification Occur?
Are you considering the modification of child custody arrangements? If so, you should get a good idea about the situations in which such change is possible.
Domestic violence is one of the most serious situations in which a parent can request a change in the current arrangement. Anything that puts a child in harm’s way will have the Arizona court reconsidering a decision previously made. Such a change could occur, for example, when one parent gets in a new relationship that is abusive.
A move out of state or out of country is another reason for child custody modification. A visitation schedule that is currently in place may become impossible to maintain. An interruption of the schedule that a child is used to will also need to be addressed in court.
The untimely death of a parent, a failure to observe the custodial agreement that’s already in place, frequent job or relationship changes and a failure to meet the child’s emotional, physical or academic needs could all trigger a child custody modification.
Arizona’s Child Custody Modification Procedure
If you believe that your child is in harm’s way or if your former spouse is violating the child custody terms and conditions, you will need to get in touch with a family law attorney. Such a professional will give you an adequate idea about the potential for change and the procedure you’ll have to go through.
Keep in mind that a parent cannot make a motion for the modification of a child custody agreement within the first year of its enactment. The only exception is evidence of domestic or child abuse. In such instances, the term will be disregarded by court officials.
The parent who is interested in changing the arrangement will have to file a motion to modify child custody. Apart from the motion itself, the parent should also provide the court with an explanation (evidence) as to why the change is needed.
Depending on the specifics and the strength of the evidence, the court could grant a hearing. During this hearing, the Arizona judge will attempt to identify what’s in the best interest of the child and if a change in the child custody arrangement is going to have a positive impact.
The process of modifying child custody may be complex, especially if there’s no evidence of abuse or mental/emotional instability on behalf of one of the parents. The change will not be granted for frivolous reasons, which is why seeking counsel can save everybody a lot of time and needless effort.
How to Prevent a Child Custody Modification?
Whenever an ex is seeking a child custody modification, you will probably feel threatened and concerned.
Wrongful child custody modification requests can be addressed in court. As already mentioned, seeking a change to the terms and conditions of the decree is far from a simple task. If your ex cannot prove child abuse or neglect, chances are that the request for modification will be turned down.
You should seek legal assistance. Experienced Arizona family law attorneys offer a free of charge first consultation, which gives you a chance to understand the situation better. If the court rules out that the modification request is a type of harassment, it will order for legal expenses to be paid by your ex.