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Six justifications for seeking a child custody modification

On Behalf of | Feb 16, 2024 | Family Law

As time moves on, circumstances may change for your child. This can render what was once a fair, favorable and viable child custody order dangerous to your child’s well-being. Unfortunately, the custody and visitation spelled out in that order isn’t going to change unless you take action to modify it. Simply acting contrary to the existing order could get you in trouble with the judge and work against you in your custody case.

When is a good time to seek a custody modification? Under Mississippi law, you have to show that there’s been a material change in circumstances in order to successfully modify an existing custody order. That’s a broad standard, and one that’s hard for many people to contextualize. That’s why this week on the blog we want to look at some circumstances that warrant a custody modification.

The “material change in circumstances” standard is broad, which means you have a lot of room to argue for a modification. That said, here are some common reasons to seek a change to your existing custody order:

  1. Physical abuse or neglect: Your child needs to be safe in their home environment. Too often, though, children are abused and neglected. If you have any indication that that’s the case for your kid, then you need to act quickly to protect them. In these circumstances, you might be able to secure an emergency custody order.
  2. Exposure to domestic violence: Witnessing abusive behavior like domestic violence can be harmful to your child. It can put them at risk of being physically injured, but it can also cause psychological harm to them, leaving them riddled with anxiety, depression, and aggressive behaviors.
  3. Exposure to parental substance abuse: Drug use is rampant across our country, including in Mississippi. When children are exposed to parental substance abuse, they can develop serious mental health concerns, including feelings of guilt, shame, anxiety, and depression. Their school performance can deteriorate, too. As if that’s not enough, exposure to parental substance abuse can also increase the risk that your child will abuse drugs or alcohol at some point in the future.
  4. Inability to meet basic needs: Regardless of where your child lives, they should have their basic needs met. If the other parent is unable to provide your child with appropriate food, clothing, or shelter, whether due to unemployment or the onset of a medical condition, then a custody modification is likely warranted.
  5. Untreated mental health issues: A lot of people who suffer from mental health issues make great parents. Yet, when serious mental health diagnoses go untreated, they can create a dangerous environment for children.
  6. Parental alienation or interference: You should have access to your child in line with your custody order. The other parent shouldn’t deny you that access, interfere with your parenting time, or manipulate your child to drive a wedge between you and your kid. If they do, then you can use that fact to support an aggressive request for custody modification.

A lot of damage can be caused to your child if you don’t act quickly to remove them from a dangerous situation. This includes circumstances where their emotional and psychological well-being is at risk.

Fortunately, you can do that by gathering evidence and crafting aggressive child custody modification arguments. Don’t be scared of the process and the conflict it might entail. Instead, keep your child’s best interests at the forefront and argue as strongly as you can to protect them.