Custody Modifications

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Custody Modifications

We guide our clients throughout their divorce, resolving their legal problems in the most practical and efficient way possible.

Custody Modifications

Once your divorce has been finalized, you might think everything outlined in the agreement will stay the same forever. This is not always the case. Life changes, and as a result, elements of a divorce such as child custody may have to change as well. This is called a child custody modification. However, parents cannot simply make any modifications they want. Any changes to the custody agreement have to go through the court, and the judge will not approve everything. The change must be based on significant circumstances. For example, communication issues and denial of visitation will likely not suffice. Neither will a small change in a parent’s work schedule. 

The goal of Virginia courts is to give children stability after a divorce, which can often be a troubling time. However, things change. What may have been the best option at the time of the divorce may not be the best situation years later. Plus, the needs of a child may change as they get older, so in some cases, it makes sense to modify a child custody agreement.

What the Law Says

Virginia law outlines the basis for child custody modifications. Code of Virginia § 20-108 states that child custody agreements can be modified based on the circumstances of the children and parents. Intentionally withholding the children from one parent may fall under this category. 

There must be a significant change in the child’s or parent’s day-to-day life in order for a modification request to be valid. Some examples may include the following:

  • A long-distance move (several hours away or in another state)
  • A change in the child’s medical or education needs
  • A parent creating an unsafe environment for the child (abuse or neglect, for example) due to substance abuse or a mental health condition
  • Incarceration of a parent
  • A major change in the parent’s employment that affects the child
  • A change in the parent’s home life (such as a new marriage) that could impact the child

Your lawyer can assess your situation and help you determine your legal rights and options. 

Best Interests of the Child

Decisions affecting children must be in their best interests. In Virginia, the best interests of the children include factors such as the following:

  • The child’s age
  • The physical and mental condition of the child and both parents
  • The existing relationship between the child and each parent
  • The child’s needs
  • Whether each parent supports the child’s relationship with the other parent
  • The child’s preference (if they are older)
  • Any history of physical or sexual abuse
  • Any history of child neglect 

Contact Us Today

Child custody is not something that can be changed easily. If you want to alter it for any reason, you will need the court’s approval.

The Virginia Family Law Center can help you prove your case and get you the best outcome possible. We have more than 30 years of experience, and we can resolve your case in the most efficient way possible. To schedule a consultation, call (703) 865-5839 or fill out the online form.

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At Virginia Family Law Center, we protect clients’ rights and help them understand the legal processes they are working through. Schedule your 30-minute telephone consultation with an experienced lawyer by filling out the form below.