Child custody orders are a part of a divorce decree that can be modified. Family courts in Utah may allow such modification as long as it is in the best interest of a child, which may also change in the long run. A custody order modification can be done when circumstances warrant it. Families that want to modify a custody order should work with a Lawyer near me to know what steps to take and what to expect from the process.
Reasons for Child Custody Modification
Child custody orders may need to be modified as family situations change. But the petitioner must present proof of substantial change in circumstances to justify their request to modify the order. They must show evidence that such changes have impacted the parenting ability of the custodial parent or the functioning of both parents’ relationship.
One situation that can trigger a modification petition is when a custodial parent relocates out of state. Under the law, the parent who wants to move should provide the non-custodial parent with sixty days’ notice of their plan to move. If the custodial parent moves even if the court finds it not in the child’s best interest, the court may change custody.
Modifying Child Custody Through Courts
The parent who wishes to modify custody should file a petition with the court. Then, they must serve this document to the child’s other parent. Generally, family courts want parents to resolve child custody disputes on their own, if possible. They may direct parents to go through mediation and reach an agreement.
In the majority of modification cases, a pretrial hearing occurs before the actual trial. The parents must present evidence and testimony to support their positions.
Child Custody Evaluation
Often, a child custody evaluator is hired to determine if modifying child custody is in a child’s best interest. They will interview the parties to collect the necessary information to make such determinations. Then, they will notify the lawyers, courts, and parties that a settlement conference must be scheduled. During this conference, can present their findings and conclusions as well as make recommendations that are not too damaging to family relationships. Also, they allow the parties to work on an agreement with the insights of the evaluator. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, the evaluator will prepare a written report, and a pre-trial conference and trial will be set by the court.
Family issues and disputes can be quite emotional and the complexity of the legal system exacerbates them. A divorce attorney can help couples make objective decisions that are in their children’s best interest. Also, they can help couples navigate the legal system.