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Reasons A Court May Change Or Modify Custody


When a divorce is finalized where the parties have minor children, child custody is decided as well. There are many different parenting time arrangements that can be uniquely tailored to meet the best interests of the children. The children may live full time with one parent, or the parents may share custody, either splitting time with the kids 50/50 or via another percentage that works for the family. Although this custody arrangement in Georgia is legally binding, it isn’t always permanent and is subject to modification as circumstances change.

At Buckhead Family Law, we understand there are some situations in which custody can be changed or modified. These changes in circumstance can include everything from the child’s changing needs to issues that the primary custodial parent faces. Read on to learn more.

The Child’s Needs or Opinions Have Changed

Many states, including Georgia, take the child’s opinions into account when custody is concerned once the child reaches a certain age. This election by a child can change custody agreements. For example, if a teenager no longer wants to live primarily with one parent, then the court may listen to them and award primary custody to the other parent. Another situation occurs when the child’s needs have changed. Younger children may stay with one parent during their early years because of their daily needs. However, when that child is a bit older, the custody arrangement may change to allow both parents more time or even to 50/50 to give them a chance to have homes with both parents.

The Child is in Danger

If a child is in danger at one parent’s house, then the court will change the custody agreement. This means that the other parent may get primary custody, while the one who is having issues might get supervised visitation. Child endangerment is a very serious thing, and it includes a number of different situations. These include physical, emotional, or psychological abuse, substance abuse, or outright neglect, where the child’s needs aren’t being met. In addition, if the primary parent is living in a household with another abusive adult, then the child may be removed from their custody.

One Parent Wants to Relocate

Sometimes a parent has to move away. This can cause a Georgia child custody arrangement to change. If a parent’s relocation would make the current parenting plan and custody arrangement impossible because of the changed distance between the parents, then either parent can petition the court to modify the parenting plan, including a change of which parent has primary custody. The parent who needs to move, whether for work or some other reason, may also still retain primary custody, but the parenting plan may need to change to provide the other parent with more time during summers, holidays and breaks from school. The transportation arrangements for the child for parenting time and who pays for that transportation may also need to be modified.

The Main Custodial Parent Can No Longer Care for the Child

There are cases where the main parent is no longer able to fully take care of their child. If the parent has a major illness that impacts their ability to care for their child, then the other parent may need to become the primary caregiver.

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The Parent is in Contempt of Court

Another reason for changing a Georgia child custody agreement involves legal issues on behalf of one of the parents. If they don’t let the other one see or speak to their child when legally required to do so, then they can end up in contempt of court. Things like missing mandated parenting time and purposefully keeping the other parent away from the child even when instructed to allow them access can lead to an alteration of the legal agreement.

Looking For a Top-Rated Divorce Lawyer in Georgia?

Want to change your current child custody agreement? Need to prove that the other parent is endangering the children or is unable to properly care for them?  Or does your child want more of a say in which parent they live with? The reasons for changing a custody arrangement in Georgia are many, and you need to go through proper legal channels. Finding a divorce lawyer in Georgia who can help you go through every step of the child custody process is the key to ensuring that everything works out for the best interest of the child.

At Buckhead Family Law, our legal team works diligently to meet the needs of clients getting divorced in today’s tech driven world – this means taking everything online into consideration. One thing that hasn’t changed about divorce? It is still one of the most harrowing experiences someone can go through, and we understand that. That is why we always treat our clients with grace and compassion.

Need help? We are here to assist you as you begin the next chapter of your life while ensuring that all of the loose ends are tied up in the least complicated way. Schedule a consultation today by calling 404-600-1403.

Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash

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