Mississippi courts make their decisions in child custody cases based primarily on the child’s best interests. While in many cases, the custody and parenting time arrangement will remain the same until the child reaches the age of majority, there are times when a change could be in order.
In cases where a parent wants to change the custody determination and the other parent objects, it is important to know when and why this could be done. Based on the traditional test, a material change in circumstances could be enough to justify the change. From both parents’ perspectives, it is wise to have professional help to address these situations.
What is a material change in circumstances?
To meet the threshold for a material change in circumstances, the court would need to see that there is a major difference from when the order was put into effect to the time at which the request is made to alter the custody order. This must have an adverse impact on the child and it needs to be shown that the child’s best interests will be served by a new order.
The court may find that there is a material change in circumstances, but it is not sufficient to change the custody order. It must first be shown that the material change has taken place. Some examples that would be severe enough are drug use or the child being abused.
A court is unlikely to change a custody order simply because the noncustodial parent is unhappy that the custodial parent is now living with another person if there’s no evidence of anything overtly negative going on.
It is natural for parents to have concerns about their child’s environment after a divorce. A child custody order is not necessarily going to remain the same for the entirety of the child’s upbringing. However, it isn’t necessarily easy for one parent alone to get a court to change an order.