When a set of Louisiana parents files for divorce, they must resolve numerous issues regarding the care and well-being of their children. Such issues include but are not exclusive to where their children will live and whether both parents will have authority to make decisions regarding important matters, such as education, health or relocation. As time passes after finalizing a divorce and signing a parenting agreement, issues may arise that make it difficult or impossible to adhere to the terms of the child custody order.
The court understands that parents have needs just as children do and that, sometimes, life changes occur that might compel a judge to modify the terms of an existing court order. This is known as “child custody modification.” If you request it, you must be able to demonstrate a legitimate need for doing so.
Has your ex been disregarding the court order?
One of the more upsetting reasons that you might ask the court to change its child custody orders is if your ex has been disregarding the terms of the existing order. For instance, perhaps your court order lists a time and place where regular custody transfers are supposed to take place and your ex refuses to bring your children to you. Or, you might be on the flip side of this equation, meaning you are the non-custodial parent, and your ex refuses to deliver the kids for visitation.
Job changes are legitimate causes for seeking child custody modification
If you’ve recently accepted a new job and its location will make your current custody transfer schedule infeasible, you can ask the court to approve modification of the current agreement. The same goes if you and your children must relocate because of your new job, or you’re a non-custodial parent who must relocate, making you unable to pick up the kids for visitation at the existing agreed-upon time and place.
You suspect that your kids are at risk in the presence of their other parent
Child safety is a top priority in all custody arrangements. The court has children’s best interests in mind when it makes all child-related decisions in a divorce. If you have evidence that suggests your ex is being abusive to your kids, has a substance abuse problem or is placing your children at risk, the court will want to know about it and can modify the terms of your custody order.
If a parent is proven unfit for custody or visitation, modification of the court order might include orders for supervised visits only or a prohibition against the parent in question, barring him or her from having any contact with the children.
Prepare your case ahead of time
If you’re going to ask a Louisiana family court judge to grant child custody modification, be as prepared as possible. Gather evidence before filing your petition so that you’re ready to demonstrate legitimate cause.