3 Instances to Appeal Child Custody Arrangements
Child custody decisions are taken extremely seriously, and for good reason. They can shape the lives of young children and even have repercussions on a wider societal level. However, life is often unpredictable, and circumstances can change quickly without warning.
In some cases, what was once a mutually agreed upon custody arrangement may no longer be suitable or even safe for the child. This can cause tension, arguments, and even prolonged legal battles.
Fortunately, there are instances when the terms of a custody arrangement can be re-examined and adjusted. Here are three situations where appealing a custody arrangement could be the best option for all parties.
1. Safety Concerns
Safety is the most important consideration when determining custody arrangements. So, if there's credible evidence that a child's physical or emotional well-being is at risk in their current environment, you can file an appeal through your lawyer to revise the existing arrangement. This may include instances of child abuse, neglect, or exposure to harmful substances or environments.
In such situations, the child's safety overrides any prior agreements to ensure the child is not in danger. Courts always prioritize the child's best interests, and if a parent or guardian can prove significant safety concerns, a judge will likely consider modifying the custody order. This might mean granting sole custody to the safer parent or even involving child protective services if necessary.
The appealing party must provide substantial proof, such as police records, medical reports, or testimonies from professionals like social workers or psychologists, to make a compelling case for the change. Your lawyer can arrange for a home evaluation by an expert to gauge the safety of the environment.
2. Job Transfer
Job transfers are common with today's employment trends, and a parent may find themselves living away from their child shortly after a custody agreement. In such situations, appealing the custody arrangement can be the right step to ensure the continuation of the parent-child bond.
Frequent commuting over long distances can be stressful for the child, and maintaining a regular visitation schedule may be nearly impossible if the move involves different time zones or states.
The relocating parent can request the court to modify the custody agreement to accommodate the new circumstances. This may involve altering the visitation schedule or even reevaluating primary custody, depending on the best interests of the child and the flexibility of both parents.
For example, you can decide to have the child stay with one parent and move back and forth during school breaks or summer vacations. This may involve making additional adjustments in terms of transportation and financial support to make the arrangement work.
However, as the requesting parent, you must prove that the job relocation is necessary and that the new environment will not adversely affect the child's emotional, educational, and social needs. The court will make the final decision, but it's possible to successfully appeal if you can demonstrate that the change won't disrupt your child's life.
3. Parental Substance Abuse
If the custodial parent suffers from addiction or substance abuse, appealing a custody arrangement may be the safest option for the child. Even if drug and alcohol tests come back negative, parents have an obligation to recognize their addiction and seek help to provide a stable home environment.
A parent's dependency can lead to neglect or physical abuse, so courts take it very seriously when making custody decisions. The opposing parent should provide evidence of the addiction, such as photos, medical reports, or testimonies from family members.
If they can prove that a parent's substance abuse poses a risk to the child, the other parent may be stripped of their custody rights until the problem is resolved. The court may offer an alternative arrangement, such as supervised visits or joint custody if the opposing parent can prove they're able to provide a stable environment.
At Tri-Cities Law Group, we understand how sensitive child custody cases can be. Schedule a consultation if you need help re-examining the terms of a custody arrangement for your children.