When a Virginia judge issues a court order with regard to your co-parenting agreement in a divorce, it is critical that you and your ex both adhere to its terms. As a parent, you want what is best for your kids, especially when your decision to file for divorce has caused a bit of upheaval in their lives. A solid child custody agreement not only helps prevent legal problems; it also can help minimize the amount of stress your kids might experience as they come to terms with your divorce.
Once a family court judge issues a child custody order, it remains in effect, unless and until the judge modifies the other. What should you do then, if you determine that the terms of your agreement are no longer feasible? The last thing you want is to disregard the court order, thus placing yourself at risk for a judge holding you in contempt of court. Instead, you can navigate the proper channels to request child custody modification.
Be prepared to explain your reasons for a child custody modification request
The court makes its child custody decisions carefully, after a thorough review of a particular case. It makes decisions in accordance with state guidelines and with children’s best interests in mind. Therefore, if you plan on asking the court to modify a child custody order, you must be prepared to show just cause.
The average family court judge would consider certain issues to be legitimate reasons for modifying a custody order. Such issues may include relocation, either by personal choice or necessitated by employment, as well as a change in work schedule or in a child’s daily schedule. If you believe your ex is abusing drugs or alcohol or otherwise placing your children at risk, these would also be legitimate reasons for requesting child custody modification.
Negotiating new terms of agreement
If you and your ex are able to cooperate in an amicable fashion, you may have negotiated the initial terms of agreement for your child custody plan when you filed for divorce. If the terms of your court order are no longer feasible, you may both re-negotiate any relevant issues; you may not, however, implement a change unless you have requested the court’s modification of the order and the judge has granted it.
Sometimes, a need for modification arises due to legal problems, such as a co-parent’s refusal to adhere to the terms of agreement. Just because your ex doesn’t feel like driving doesn’t mean that he or she is free to not show up at the court-ordered place and time for a custody exchange. If your ex keeps disregarding a court order, you can seek the court’s intervention to resolve the problem.