Whether you and your ex-spouse arrived at the child custody agreement on your own or the court intervened, this arrangement is not easily changed just because one parent wants to make a change. Courts tend to scrutinize the reasons for wanting to modify the child custody agreement. Simply saying that the current schedule no longer works is not sufficient.
Yet, there are times when a modification to the child custody agreement can be a good idea when it is the best interest of your children. The court will always evaluate and determine what they believe is in the best interest of the children, and so should you.
Reason #1: You believe your children are in a dangerous situation.
If you believe there is an immediate danger to your children, the court will consider modifying child custody. Some valid factors that could constitute a danger to the children include:
- There is domestic violence in the custodial parent’s home.
- You have noticed excessive bruising on the child and/or other signs of physical abuse.
- The custodial parent is neglecting their parental duties and responsibilities.
- There is known substance abuse in the home.
- The children have expressed an unwillingness to return home after visitation.
- The children have reported being physically or sexually abused.
Reason #2: The custodial parent is refusing to honour the child access and visitation schedules.
If the custodial parent will not let you see your children, they are in direct violation of the agreement you reached as part of your divorce. Even if you are not currently able to make child support payments, the law still allows you access to your children.
Reason #3: The custodial parent experienced a debilitating injury.
If the custodial parent is seriously injured where they can no longer care for themselves, then they are also no longer able to properly care for the children. A child custody modification may be required to ensure the children are receiving the care they need.
Reason #4: The custodial parent dies.
If the custodial parent dies from an accident, illness, or other reason, then the non-custodial parent will need to request that the child custody arrangement be modified. Courts prefer children to remain with the non-custodial parent after the death of the other parent.
Reason #5: The custodial parent wants to relocate a long distance away.
Courts will consider a modification to child custody if the custodial parent’s move will make the current agreement impossible or impractical. Furthermore, they will consider the impacts the move will have on the children and whether it would be better for the children to remain in the area with the non-custodial parent.
Before requesting a modification to child access through the court – unless the children are in danger – it is highly recommended that parents make an effort to reach a new agreement on their own. New agreements can be negotiated with help from child custody lawyers, as well as by using mediation and arbitration.
If you believe a child custody modification is needed and necessary, then Toronto family law firm can help you. Please feel free to contact Davies Law Firm at (613) 688-0462 to schedule a consultation appointment today!