Child custody orders are established based on the needs of the child and circumstances of the parents at that time. As parents know all too well, though, circumstances can change. Child custody orders cannot be modified unless there has been a material change in circumstances. When a life change impacts your ability to uphold your child custody order, or you are concerned for the well-being of your child, it may be time to seek a modification.
Reasons to seek a modification to your custody or visitation arrangement
There are several circumstances that may require a request for custody or visitation modification. Some of the most common are:
- A new job that dramatically changes your schedule
- The need to move away from your child's other parent
- A concern that your child's other parent is endangering your child
- Your child's other parent refuses to uphold the existing order
How to modify your custody arrangement
In Alabama, in order to seek a modification to your custody or visitation agreement, you will have to file a petition to modify, or petition the court by filling out Form PS-07. On the form, you will have to explain your current custody or visitation plan, how you would like it to change and why you would like it to change.
Once you have submitted the form and paid the associated fee, your child's other parent need to be served with a copy of your request to change the custody order. You will then receive a hearing date.
Preparing for your hearing is very important - especially if your children's other parent does not agree with your request for modification. You will need to present evidence supporting your wish to change your custody order. If you and your children's other parent agree on the change, the court is more likely to approve it.
Why you should get legal help before requesting a custody modification
If you are considering requesting a custody modification, it is important to speak with a lawyer first - especially if your child's other parent does not want a change. An experienced family law attorney can help you properly fill out your forms and can represent you at your hearing, ensuring that you have the best chance possible at obtaining a positive outcome.