When a court makes a child custody order, it takes into account what is in the best interests of the child. As this decision considers a wide range of factors, there is little room for argument. But, things change, and this can create an opportunity to appeal.
What if you want to file a request to modify the existing child custody arrangement? Perhaps you believe that the other parent is now unfit to look after your child, and wish to attain sole custody. You may think that you just don’t get enough visitation hours. It’s easiest if the other parent is willing to cooperate, but that is not always a realistic outcome.
The basic rule is that there must be a significant change in circumstances before the court will entertain any request. Before doing anything, make sure to review your case with an experienced Denver child custody lawyer.
Courts will primarily look at what is best for the child. You must demonstrate that the current arrangement is unsatisfactory, and that modifying it would be good for the child’s growth. Factors that would help include:
• Significant change in a parent’s income level
• Deteriorating health of the custodial parent
• Relocation to a new city or state
• Proof that the current living environment is harmful to the child
• Violations of the custodial parent of visitation rights
The last one is important to mention. Some people will, out of spite, keep their children from seeing the non-custodial parent. This is illegal, and may even constitute kidnapping in some cases. You should seek legal assistance immediately if your ex-spouse is intentionally violating the court order.
With any luck, you should be successful in having the custody order modified. Remember that stability is also important in a child’s life. If a judge believes that the disruption of modifying custody would outweigh any benefits, they are unlikely to grant it.