Circumstances in life change all the time. For divorced parents, however, a change in their lives (or their children’s lives) can lead to custody issues.
If your former court-ordered custody plan is no longer working, can you change it? While there are limitations on how soon and why the Arizona court may consider modifying the child custody arrangement, it may be an option in certain situations. Here are a few:
When one party violates the custody terms
Both parties are required to honor the court’s custody order. However, if one party is constantly violating it, like refusing to return the children when they are supposed to or barring you from visiting the children, you can petition the court to review and modify the custody decree.
When there are major changes to the child’s needs
What works for a toddler may not work for a child in high school. The child may need a different environment as they go through different stages of life. If you can convince the court that the child’s needs have changed over time, you may have grounds for seeking custody modification. Also, if a child develops an emotional, mental, or physical disorder, and one parent is best placed to take care of these changes, they can consider petitioning the court to modify the custody decree.
When living with the custodial parent exposes the child to danger
Since the child’s best interest is always the crucial factor when awarding custody, endangerment is one of the core reasons why a court might consider modifying custody. If one parent is engaging in behaviors that endanger the child’s welfare, the court might consider modifying or limiting that parent’s access to the child. Such behaviors can include neglect, exposing the child to toxic situations like substance abuse, or when there are mental health concerns.
Arizona family laws grant divorced parents equal rights to making decisions regarding their children’s welfare. However, the court can modify custody arrangements if it is convinced this is in the best interest of the children. An experienced family law attorney can review your circumstance and offer the best possible legal counsel based on Arizona child custody laws.