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How to Modify Your Child Custody Agreement

Adjusting Custody to Reflect the Changes in Your Circumstances

The coronavirus has turned many lives upside down, leaving several parents jobless, struggling to pay rent, and unsure of when their lives will stabilize. Even those still fortunate enough to be employed face complications in circumstance, as they could be an essential worker who faces frequent risk of infection. Being responsible for a child during these times can be difficult if you do not have the means to provide them with the life or safe environment you once could. While child custody modifications require significant changes in circumstance, many of the effects of the pandemic on the country can make parents eligible for temporary or permanent modifications.

Iowa’s Response to Child Custody Concerns During the Pandemic

Iowa courts released a statement to offer some guidance and clarity regarding court services and how different legal measures are affected by the pandemic. In response to child custody, the state affirms that previously instated court orders should continue to be abided by regardless of school closures. It also declares that a school closure has no effect on custody orders and can neither modify nor extend the time of either parent.

This order does not, however, halt parents from seeking a modification of orders during the pandemic. This preserves the rights of trouble-struck parents to adjust the agreement for the best interest of their child.

Determining Your Eligibility

To be eligible for a child custody modification, parents need to prove that they experienced a substantial change in circumstance through no fault of their own, and that a modification would be in the child’s best interest. Some qualifying events that are prevalent amidst the pandemic include:

  • Decrease in salary
  • Job loss
  • Loss of home

If the change has a significant impact on your life and ability to provide, you will likely be able to seek a modification.

Requesting a Temporary Modification

As we hold onto the hope that the pandemic is temporary and the world will one day recover, you can make your modifications short-term if you wish. This protects your child for the near future while you get back on your feet. Parents may seek a temporary custody or visitation modification in response to the coronavirus when:

  • Either parent has been exposed to COVID-19
  • Either parent is showing symptoms of COVID-19
  • Either parent works in a high-risk industry
  • The child is immunocompromised

If your case aligns with this criteria, you could be eligible for:

  • Temporary postponement of in-person visits or shared physical custody
  • Supervised visitation
  • Virtual visitation

While parents can elect to modify arrangements in response to their changed reality, those who have lost their job need not fear that they will automatically lose their custody rights. Contact The Law Offices of Mark R. Hinshaw, PLC to discuss your custody terms, the effect the coronavirus is having on them, and how we can help.

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