You believe that the custody order the judge signed no longer works for your family, but perhaps your co-parent disagrees. This complicates your ability to modify child custody considerably.
According to state law, if you cannot obtain the consent of your child’s other parent, you will have two points to prove to the court before you can receive a modification.
A material change occurred
Evidence of major life events such as a move or a remarriage may pass a judge’s test of a material change. Your current custody plan may rely on you and the other parent living close enough to keep your child in the same school district. Or, a remarriage may result in a blended family that your child has trouble adjusting to. Other potential material changes include:
- A dangerous situation in the other parent’s house, such as violence or substance abuse
- Your child receives a serious medical diagnosis
- The other parent receives a serious medical diagnosis
Any of these matters is likely easy to demonstrate to the judge. Your child may even provide testimony of the need for the change. However, you will need more than a material change to prove your child is better off with you.
The modification is in your child’s best interests
According to The Mississippi Bar, the judge will also have to weigh whether the change is warranted based on the Albright factors, which the court uses to determine custody matters. These include issues regarding the parents, such as which has the ability and willingness to provide the child’s primary care, which has better parenting skills and the stability of their home and work life.
If your child is at least 12, his or her preference will be a consideration. Your child’s ties to the current school and community may be important to demonstrate if the material change is due to a move. The judge may consider any other factors that you can show are relevant, as well, so do not leave out any details that you believe demonstrate how the modification will benefit your child.