Life can change a lot for parents after a divorce, including new jobs, relocations, and new partners. If you have children, you and your ex-spouse must factor these changes into all the decisions you make regarding your children. Sometimes, this includes modifying your child custody agreement if it is a better choice for the children facing life’s changes with you.
Just like the judge’s original child custody order, the new circumstances will be scrutinized by the same court and the judge will decide what is the best arrangement for the children if the parents do not come up with a suitable plan. To discuss your changing circumstances and how they can affect your children, consult a Lincoln County child custody modification lawyer.
Reasons to Modify Child Custody Agreements
Changes to a child’s or parent’s situation can prompt a need for custody to be modified. Some factors that prompt that decision include:
- One parent is violating the current custody order
- The child or one of the parents suffers a decline in physical or mental well-being
- The child changes schools, and travel time is far less by rearranging where they reside during the school year
- The child is old enough to decide their preferable living arrangements, or they wish to spend more time with one parent
- One parent’s job requirements are changing, such as more extensive out-of-town travel or a switch to night shifts
If parents are also modifying child support payments, they should look at how custody complements the new financial responsibilities. A Lincoln County child custody modification attorney could help parents come to an agreement on the best results for the children involved.
How a Move Might Affect Custody
Kansas, unlike many states, does not favor or disfavor a parent moving with their child to another state when a custody order is in place. There is a notice requirement that either parent, whether the child lives with them or not, must notify the other parent in writing not less than 30 days before they plan to move, whether that move is a block away or across the country. However, if a child lives with one parent and the other parent has been convicted of a violent or sexually-oriented crime against the child, the parent who is moving does not have to give notice.
Either Lincoln County parent could ask for a modification in the original custody ruling if the move is significant. A follow-up hearing can put the responsibility on the judge to decide how and if custody should be modified for a move. The judge will use the same criteria to determine modifications as those used in the original order, as specified in Kansas Statutes § 23-3203, with the child’s best interest and continuing contact with both parents the foremost concerns.
Types of Child Custody
There are two primary types of custody: physical and legal. Physical custody refers to where a child lives, whereas legal custody refers to decision-making rights. Judges prefer joint legal custody in Kansas, which gives both parents access to the child’s medical and educational records and grants both parents equal decision-making responsibilities concerning the child.
Sole legal custody allows the parent with whom the child lives to make major decisions without consulting the other parent, although the custodial parent must still notify the other parent about a move, and the designation should not limit visitation rights.
Kansas does not recognize ‘full custody’ but will occasionally grant divided custody, in which one child lives with a parent and another child with the other parent, with visitation rights. Non-parental custody is granted when it is best to remove a child from parental custody. Grandparents often assume non-parental custody. Families could rely on a Lincoln County attorney to learn more about custody arrangements and whether their situation would benefit from a modification.
Let a Child Custody Modification Attorney Help Your Family
You want what is best for your children, and that includes an equitable arrangement for where they live and how often they visit their other parent after a divorce. Sometimes, an original custody order becomes obsolete if one parent moves across the country or takes on a new job that requires a lot of travel.
Kansas accommodates all sorts of circumstances that can warrant a change in a custody order. If both parents do not agree to a new arrangement, one parent can petition the court to decide. To avoid confrontations with an ex and ensure the process is carried out properly, let a Lincoln County child custody modification lawyer guide you.