When you have children, your situation is constantly shifting. What works for babies and toddlers can suddenly become unmanageable for school-aged children. Sometimes parents need to adjust to keep up. However, what happens when your circumstances change or your current custody agreement no longer meets your children’s needs?
At Hardt Law, P.L.L.C., we know circumstances can change for you and your family. The question is, can you modify a child custody agreement in Virginia? Our legal team wants to help you understand when and how you can alter an existing child custody arrangement.
Types of Child Custody Arrangements
Virginia has two types of custody arrangements: legal and physical. The parent with legal custody can make significant decisions on behalf of their child. These decisions can involve medical care, educational opportunities, and religious upbringing. The parent with physical custody provides the child’s residence.
Courts can assign joint or sole custody to either type of arrangement. In some cases, the child’s best interests dictate that one parent should gain sole physical custody while both share joint legal custody. Although many states presume that it is in the best interests of the child to maintain a relationship with both parents, judges in Virginia must make independent evaluations to determine the child’s best interests. The law specifically states that no type of custody is presumed to be the best.
Can You Modify a Child Custody Agreement in Virginia
It is not unheard of for children to “outgrow” custody orders. The circumstances of parents and children can change over the years, meaning what worked before no longer works today. Thankfully, it is possible to modify a child custody agreement in Virginia. Most child custody agreements can be modified when there has been a material change in one or both parents’ circumstances. Examples of events that may warrant a child custody modification include:
- A change in the child’s educational or medical needs
- Changes to a parent’s employment situation
- Changes to a parent’s work schedule
- Changes to a parent’s home life, such as a marriage or divorce
- Adverse changes to a parent’s home life, including drug or alcohol addiction or violence that creates an unsafe environment for a child
- Parental incarceration
Changes to a child custody arrangement must go through Virginia courts. As a parent seeking a revision, you must file a request for modification. A judge will evaluate the merits of the change and approve or deny the modification based on the circumstances presented. Parents on the same page may find getting the court to approve a modification request easier. Suppose one parent wants to make changes, and the other is not on board. A judge re-evaluates the case, considering the new circumstances, before deciding whether to change a custody agreement. Do not attempt to change your child’s schedule or habits with the old custody order in effect. You can potentially run into legal complications, negatively impacting your chances of obtaining a revised child custody arrangement.
If you have questions about altering a child custody order, seek the advice of an experienced Virginia Beach child custody attorney before moving forward.
Need to Make a Change? Discuss Your Case with a Skilled Child Custody Attorney
Changing an existing Virginia child custody arrangement can be overwhelming and time-consuming. The experienced child custody attorney with Hardt Law, P.L.L.C., can review your case and help you seek the necessary changes to improve your situation.
Don’t walk into court alone. Learn about your legal rights and options. Call our Virginia Beach office at (757) 962-5588 today to arrange a confidential legal consultation.