A child custody order in Wagoner, Oklahoma is a living, breathing document. It supports parents during and after a divorce when children are involved.
As children grow older and our working and personal lives change, sometimes child custody orders need to be modified to fit those changes. Custody, support, and visitation are all modifiable.
As you look at your changing needs, here are some things about custody modification that are helpful to know.
How to Get a Child Custody Modification
Asking the court for a child custody modification involves filing a petition with the court requesting the modification and showing the court why it should be granted.
If you have children and have gotten a divorce in Oklahoma, you may be surprised to learn that the court in which you got your divorce decree continues to retain jurisdiction over all matters of child custody, visitation, and support until each child attains the age of majority.
If you are seeking to modify an existing child custody order in the Wagoner area, you or your attorney must file a petition for modification for the matter to be heard. This petition states the reasons that you are requesting a custody modification.
In order for the court to grant the petition for modification, you must have experienced a permanent and material change in circumstances relevant to the issue you are requesting the modification for and the modification must be in the child’s best interest.
So what kind of change warrants a modification? Usually, it is a change within the custodial parent’s living conditions or household that impacts the child.
Over time, it may be that your custody order says one thing, but the reality of the child placement has changed over time. It could be that the parent seeking modification wants the custody order to reflect the child’s actual living situation. This type of modification is readily granted as long as the change is not temporary and is in the child’s best interests.
Other times, the custodial parent may undergo circumstances that make the living situation harmful or difficult for the child. Substance abuse, neglect, and physical abuse all certainly are grounds for modification. But a job change that pulls the custodial parent away for long hours over a protracted period of time may also present enough grounds for modification.
Will a Hearing be Needed?
Once the petition has been filed, the other parent has an opportunity to file either in support of the petition or to oppose it. If both parents agree to the change and the court finds that the change is in the best interests of the child, it is more likely to rule in favor of the requested child custody modification.
If the other parent opposes the modification, it is likely that a hearing will be required. At the hearing, you will have the opportunity to convince the judge that circumstances are significantly changed and that the modification is in the child’s best interests. This hearing will almost always require testimony and other evidence of the changed circumstances.
Free Consultation: Wagoner Divorce Attorney
When your marriage plans unravel, get the best legal counsel available. Don’t go it alone. Get an experienced, reliable Wagoner divorce attorney on your side.
Contact the Wirth Law Office – Wagoner at 918-485-0335 today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.