Divorce or separation is never easy, more so when children are involved. One of the issues the divorcing couple will have to deal with is the custody of their child. And as you can imagine, this is usually one of the most contested issues.
However, once a custody order is in place, both parties are legally bound by its terms. A violation by either party is an offense that is punishable by law. However, there are instances when the court may be open to the idea of reviewing the existing custody order. Here are some of them:
If the child is in danger
The court takes the child’s well-being and best interest seriously when ruling on a custody order. If the current arrangement exposes the child to emotional, physical or psychological danger, then the court will immediately take action. Some of the situations that may pose a danger to the child include incidents of domestic violence in the child’s current household, incidents of drug and substance abuse by either parent or a conviction for a serious offense like sex crime or drug trafficking.
If the custodial parent is relocating
The court may be open to reviewing and possibly modifying an existing custody order if either parent is relocating to a distant place. However, before modifying the custody order on relocation grounds, the court will seek to establish the following:
- The purpose of relocation
- How the relocation is likely to impact the child’s life (their schooling, friends and co-curricular activities)
- How the relocation will impact the existing visitation schedule
When either parent is violating the current order
The court may also review and modify an existing custody arrangement if either parent violates the order. This can include withholding visitation, kidnapping the child or failing to return the child in time as per the terms of visitation.
Every child has a right to a healthy relationship with both parents. However, there are instances when, in the best interest of the child, the court may consider modifying an existing custody order.