Child Custody Modification
It’s not unusual for a parent to desire to change a court order that defines the custody arrangement between the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent. Anyone looking to change an existing child support agreement should contact any of our experienced attorneys at Wall & Wall Attorneys at Law for assistance with filing a “Petition to Modify” in the proper court of law.
There are numerous reasons that people may seek to change the child’s parenting arrangement. Sometimes, parents even agree that a change is beneficial to the children. This could involve visitation times or locations. Other times, there might be a major change involving a significant geographic switch. By filing a petition, the court can exercise the proper jurisdiction and either approve the change or offer an alternative arrangement. Many people wonder “how is child custody determined?” Some important factors are below.
Numerous Steps Are Involved in Modifying Child Custody Agreements in Utah That the Parents and the Court Need to Go Through:
- File a Motion
- Service a Summons
- Complete the Litigation Awareness and Parental Education Programs
- Mediation, Discovery, and a Pre-Trial Hearing
- Judgment will be Entered by the Court
Clearly, these are complicated steps with numerous legal jargon that parents will need assistance deciphering. Hiring an experienced divorce attorney is essential to the success of any petition to modify a child custody evaluation in Utah.
The Reason is Important
The backbone of any decision made by a judge regarding the modification of child custody agreements involves the reasons behind the change. How Utah courts determine the best interests of the child will always be placed at the top of the priority list. If the modification request is unfounded, there could be a financial penalty involved. Examples of valid reasons for modifying an agreement include:
- Abuse Charges
- Relocation for Work
- Relocation for Better Schools
- Relocation for a Sick Family Member
- Addiction Problems
- A Felony Conviction
- Remarriage with a Socially Unfit Partner
- Severe Mental or Physical Disability
These are only a small sample of the numerous reasons that could be seen as valid in the eyes of the court. The success of this reasoning depends on the ability of the parent and the attorney to convince the judge that the basis for the child support modification is valid. Relying on an experienced attorney who knows how to frame the basis for any child support modification will go a long way to a successful outcome.
The Factors Involved in a Switch Regarding Joint Custody in Utah
Many parents maintain joint custody of their children and a switch to this arrangement is a more complicated matter. Factors involved in switching this agreement include:
- Will the joint legal or physical custody of the child benefit their development physically, mentally, or emotionally?
- Can the parents place the needs of the child ahead of their own by putting aside their differences and reaching an amicable decision regarding the child’s upbringing?
- Will the parents facilitate the opinions of the other parent in a way that keeps the children happy?
- Will each parent participate equally in the raising of the children?
- How far away do the parents live from the child’s school, sports, friends, and other extracurricular activities?
To answer these questions, the judge is going to look at the history of the family including the circumstances of the divorce, the relationship of the child with each of the parents, and how cooperative the parents were during the prior agreement. This is going to play an important role in the final decision.
Our highly experienced attorneys at Wall and Wall Attorneys at Law would love to assist you through this process. Contact Wall & Wall Attorneys at Law today for a free consultation regarding the modification of child support arrangements in Utah.