As most people in Virginia are aware, changes in life can impact the way children are parented. In some cases, this may mean that even carefully thought-about and agreed-upon child custody plans need a modification. In fact, there are several reasons in which a court might consider modifying a child custody order.
Courts are tasked with determining what the best interests of a child are. Therefore, if a previous order appears to be successful, the court will likely be unwilling to interrupt the child’s life by modifying an agreement. However, a modification may be necessary if it is believed that a child’s life is in danger as a result of the current plan.
Another reason in which it may become necessary for a modification is due to one parent’s relocation. In this circumstance, the court will likely examine the reason for the relocation, whether the parents have attempted to communicate with one another and how the change will impact the child’s life. Other reasons include one parent’s failure to abide by the current visitation schedule and the death of the custodial parent. In the latter, the court typically prefers that the child live with the non-custodial parent, but exceptions may be made under certain circumstances. For example, the court will consider whether the non-custodial’s work schedule prevents him or her from providing care or if the child wishes to stay with a third party.
While a child custody order may work for Virginia parents at the time it is put into place, it may become necessary to request a modification under certain circumstances. Because the stakes can be high — a child may be in danger or one parent may be facing reduced access to his or her child — most people going through the process want an experienced family law attorney on their side. With such help, they often feel more confident in ensuring that the best interests of their children are truly being met.