For Rhode Island parents who have parted ways as a couple, child custody and visitation are two fundamental concerns. Both sides typically want to spend as much time as possible with the child. A custody and visitation agreement is designed to address this. However, there are times when a parent wants to modify the agreement. Understanding basic aspects of a custody modification is important from the start.
Reasons to ask for a child custody modification
There are myriad reasons why a parent would seek a custody modification. These include the child being in danger, a parental relocation, the refusal to adhere to the visitation schedule or one parent dying. Any allegation of violence or abuse will likely warrant a modification to make sure the child is safe. This can stem from past domestic violence issues, threats or a child who expresses that he or she does not want to see the accused parent.
Parents may change jobs, move to a new area to be closer to immediate family members or start to attend school. In this context for a requested modification, the court will consider:
• The reason the parent seeks to move
• If the child’s education, social life, religious activities and environment will be damaged
• If the visitation schedule becomes untenable by the move
• If the parents can communicate about the child in an amicable way
Some parents simply ignore the visitation schedule. A lack of cooperation is a common problem, and it might be addressed by modifying the order. Additionally, the death of a parent will require the child custody agreement to be changed.
Having advice for a child custody modification request may be vital
The key factor that the court will consider is the child’s best interests. If those interests are served by a child custody modification, then the requested changes might be approved. From either perspective, the custodial parent or the noncustodial parent, it is imperative to understand the law and follow the procedure for requesting a modification.