Though the child custody terms that you and your ex-spouse reached at the time of your divorce may have fit the circumstances of that moment, you may come to realize that those terms do not fit your current situation. As a result, you may want to seek modifications to the child custody agreement. However, simply stating that you desire a change will likely not act as enough reason to move forward with modifications.
You have two avenues that you could potentially utilize in order to work toward changing custody terms. The alterations may come about by:
- Agreement - When you hope to make changes to the custody order, you will likely approach the topic with your ex-spouse first. In some cases, you may have the ability to present your desires to your ex along with new terms, and if the changes seem to make sense for the circumstances, the other parent may agree. If you both reach a mutual agreement, you may take the necessary steps to submit the changes to the judge, who will likely approve the modification.
- Hearing - If you and your ex-spouse do not come to a mutual agreement, you may still seek alterations by going through a court hearing. You must go through multiple steps in order to complete the hearing, and the judge presiding over your case will determine whether to grant the changes.
When you go through a custody modification hearing, you must first fill out the necessary paperwork to file your request. This form involves presenting your reasoning for requesting the changes. Most often, the reasoning must involve a significant change in circumstances. Changes in circumstance could include a parent moving away, instances of child abuse or other criminal activity, personal changes for the child or a parent failing to adhere to the current custody terms.
Before the modification approval, you will likely go through mediation with your ex-spouse. During this procedure, you may work together in hopes of coming to agreeable terms. If mediation proves successful, the mediator can present your terms to the judge for approval. If you and your ex cannot come to terms through mediation, the mediator may make a recommendation to the court. Following the necessary legal proceedings may help you in your endeavor.
Because the terms of your custody agreement are likely very important to you, you will undoubtedly hope to come to the best outcome possible. In order to understand your options for seeking modifications and carrying out the necessary steps, you may wish to speak with an experienced Ohio attorney.