In the months and years after a divorce and custody agreement is finalized, it is natural that there might be some changes in the living and working realities of the parents. There might even be other children or caregivers involved in taking care of the children.
Because of this, it is common to revisit custody agreements to clarify some of the conditions to better fit the current arrangements. Here are some things that you should know about revisiting a child custody arrangement in Georgia.
Child Visitation vs. Custody
In Georgia, there is a difference between revising child visitation and parenting agreements, and custody. Every two years, a parent with visitation rights can revisit this clause to adjust those rights. More often than not, it is to try to get more visitation hours or to remove some of the possible restrictions. This is different from how custody is managed.
In Georgia, custody rights are determined by a court order to change the agreement. In most cases, a parent or guardian can seek a change in custody if there is a significant change in their lives that factors into the court’s decisions on custody. Some of the changes that can lead to a change in custody are:
New Living Arrangements
If there is a change in living arrangements, custody can be modified. If a parent moves to a new city or state, moves into a house, or moves in with another person, there is a chance to have custody modified. Perhaps the mother was awarded full custody on the basis that she lived in the family home and the father moved into a single bedroom apartment that couldn’t regularly accommodate having four children living there. If the father moves into a larger home, it is possible to revisit the custody agreement to see if there is a chance to award joint custody or transfer of custody.
A Child Asks to Change Parents
Children in shared custody agreements have a say in who they want to stay with. If a child asks to switch parents or for a change in custody, that parent can ask the court for a modification. While very young children may not have much say in who they get to live with, older children have more say. This means that as your children get older, they are better able to express their preferences for who to live with. If an older child asks to change the custody agreement to go to a different school, for instance, the custody agreement can be adjusted to accommodate this.
Change in Employment
In many cases, getting a job or losing a job can affect custody agreements. A parent without a job may find that the court will adjust the custody agreement in favor of the other parent if they are unable to afford to care for the children. This can be a good thing temporarily as it frees up time to job search and can reduce the overall costs of taking care of a child during a period of income loss. Alternatively, getting a new job or a better job with different work requirements is a reason to adjust the custody agreement to fit your new work schedule.
Getting Re-Married or Getting Divorced
Bringing new people into your life can also create a reason to revisit your existing child custody agreement. Say your ex marries someone that you don’t want to have your children around because they have a criminal background. This is a reason to revisit your child custody agreement to see what can be done to limit their exposure. Similarly, if one parent divorces a new partner, this could change their own working needs and living situation. This could warrant a change in a child custody agreement.
Contact a Savannah Child Custody Lawyer Today
There are many circumstances that might require a change in child custody. A Savannah child custody lawyer can discuss your options with you to see if it makes sense to file a court order. A child custody agreement should never be changed without the court system, as it is a necessary legal process. Fortunately, your lawyer can help you through the process.
Looking for a child custody attorney in Savannah, Georgia? Phillips Carson & Phillips has experience helping parents change existing child custody agreements and establishing new agreements through the divorce process. Having an experienced and knowledgeable attorney can make a difference. Contact us to schedule a consultation by calling (912) 232-0081 or using our online contact form.