Once the judge approves your child custody agreement, it becomes a legally binding custody order that both you and your ex are required to follow. However, courts are aware that what you agreed to when you first split up, may not be best for the child in the years to come. That is why Indiana parents can file a request with the court to modify their child custody agreement if they have experienced a substantial change in life circumstances.
What constitutes a substantial change in circumstances?
Generally, courts will only grant a custody modification for a substantial change in circumstances, as long as the parent can prove that the modification serves the child’s best interest. Courts prefer that a child’s custody schedule stay as consistent as possible but will likely consider modifications if the current arrangement is causing harm to the child. Here are some common reasons a court may agree to modify a custody order:
- Drug/alcohol abuse by either parent
- Domestic violence
- Neglect of child
- Child is struggling academically or socially
- Child’s preference (if the child is at least 14 years old)
Filing for modification
If you and your ex both agree on the modification, you can file your request for modification together for the court to review and hopefully approve. However, if your spouse refuses to agree to the modification, you can still file for modification on your own. In either case, an attorney can be extremely helpful every step of the way. Your attorney can handle all the paperwork and help show the court that the modification is necessary.