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When Can I Seek a Child Custody Modification?

Most child custody arrangements aren’t built to last, and if you’ve reached a point where your parenting plan no longer works for your family, you need to understand how to seek a modification. Whether you’ve relocated, are working new hours, or your child’s medical needs have changed, it’s understandable that these life changes might affect your custody arrangement. However, the way in which you amend that arrangement is absolutely crucial. You and your child’s other parent might try to work it out yourselves, and you might find a workable solution, but you should always make it official by making a legally-binding child custody modification.

By seeking an official modification, you can alter your child custody arrangement in the eyes of the court. This is always the best method to use because, even if you and your co-parent get along, it’s in your best interest to have your parenting plan backed by a court official in case any contestations arise.

If you need to adjust your child custody arrangement, make sure you know what warrants a modification and how you can go about obtaining the change you need.

Child Custody Modifications in Iowa

In the state of Iowa, there are several reasons parents might petition the court for an official modification. In order to seek a modification, the parent must prove that there has been a “substantial and material change in circumstances” since the initial decree was ordered.

Examples of substantial changes include:

  • Either parent relocates
  • Either parent is sent elsewhere for military duty
  • The home of a parent becomes unsuitable due to homelessness, the use of drugs or alcohol, unfit roommates or partners, etc.
  • The medical needs of the child changes
  • A parent is sent to jail
  • There is any evidence of child abuse or neglect

There are other conditions that the court may consider substantial enough to warrant a change in custody orders. As a rule, the court will always aim to do whatever is in the best interest of the child, whether that means a modification is necessary or not. If the child is older, the court is also likely to take the child’s option into consideration, which could also affect the outcome of your child custody case.

How To Pursue a Modification

If you wish to obtain a modification, you must petition your local court for a legal child custody or visitation modification. Much like the process you went through to establish your initial child custody arrangement, the court will consider the cases of each parent, the wellbeing of the child, and make a decision based on the child’s best interest.

In order to ensure your interests are protected throughout your child support modification case, it’s absolutely essential that you work with an experienced family law attorney.

Contact The Law Offices of Mark R. Hinshaw, PLCto discuss your case with our Des Moines divorce lawyers.

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