Custody Modification Attorneys in Atlanta
The breakdown of any marriage or relationship can be stressful. This kind of significant life change involves working out how to move forward in ways that none of the parties involved might ever have imagined. However, when children are involved in a divorce or separation, things can become particularly complicated.
Determining custody arrangements is one of the most emotionally charged aspects of divorce proceedings. Regardless of the outcome, all the parties involved will feel the anguish of knowing that their child will not grow up in a household without both their parents at the same time. Yet even when the parents have agreed upon a suitable arrangement, circumstances can shift so that the custody agreement needs to be revisited, potentially creating more stress and opening old wounds.
If your current situation is such that your child custody agreement requires modification, you must consult with an excellent family law attorney rather than attempting to make the changes on your own. The experienced Atlanta child custody and visitation lawyers at Kessler & Solomiany, LLC have many decades of combined experience helping families in the Atlanta area. We are committed to working with our clients’ best interests in mind and guiding them through their family legal matters in a way that maximizes efficiency and compassion and minimizes stress.
Call our offices today at Kessler & Solomiany, LLC or contact us online for a confidential consultation.
When Can I Apply for Modification of Child Custody?
Under Georgia state law, parents have the right to modify legal and physical child custody agreements in certain contexts. Most importantly, you must ensure that the following two factors apply:
- You must prove that there has been a significant and material change of circumstance.
- You must prove that the proposed modification would be in your child’s best interests.
How Does a Court Define a Significant Change of Circumstance?
While there is no specific definition of what constitutes a significant change of circumstance, the following events might qualify:
- Remarriage of either parent
- Relocation of either parent
- Birth of a new child to either parent
- Significant change in either parent’s income
- Disability of either parent
- Disability of the child
- A sudden drop in the child’s grades at school
Whether these or other factors are ultimately deemed to be a sufficiently significant change of circumstance to warrant a modification will ultimately depend on each individual case. A skilled family lawyer can help you understand whether your situation qualifies for a modification.
How Does a Court Determine What Is in a Child’s Best Interests?
As is the case with deciding what constitutes a significant change, there is no set definition of what will be in a child’s best interests. This is because each family’s situation is unique. Therefore, a judge will make a common-sense decision after thoroughly reviewing your circumstances and your family dynamic.
Some of the questions a judge may consider include:
- Which parent takes on most of the caring responsibilities for the child?
- Which parent has the closest emotional bond with the child?
- Which parent lives in the best school district?
- Which parent lives closest to the child’s friends?
- Which parent is better positioned to provide for the child’s economic needs?
- Which parent has demonstrated the most nurturing and supportive attitude toward the child?
- How do the parents behave toward one another and toward the child?
In many cases, the answers to these questions will be at odds with each other. Therefore, it is important that you have a skilled family lawyer on your side who can craft a strong case that the arrangement you are proposing is best for the child’s needs, as well as for their future.
If My Spouse and I Have Already Agreed, Does a Judge Have to Order a Modification?
In general, judges prefer that parents come to an agreement on custody on their own rather than it being determined by a court order. However, once you have come to an arrangement with your spouse, the judge will still need to review your parenting plan to make sure that it is in the child’s best interests. Therefore, you should still consult with a qualified family attorney who can help you craft your parenting plan in a manner that will make it more likely that the judge will accept it.
Is it Possible to Modify Visitation?
Either party may request a modification to visitation arrangements. The court may also choose to modify visitation unilaterally without the need for input from either of the parties involved. In any event, visitation modifications must also meet the requirement of being in the child’s best interests.
Will Custody Modification Affect Child Support?
Custody and child support arrangements tend to be so closely tied together that the two will be modified at the same time. If you are considering a modification to custody, you should consult with a lawyer who can help you understand what the implications for your child support are likely to be.
Contact an Experienced Atlanta Child Custody Attorney
While parents may love their children and want the best for them, it is nearly impossible that they will always be in total agreement on what that means. Having a child custody arrangement in place is a legal means of ensuring that you, your spouse, and your child have clarity on who will have primary physical custody of the child as well as who will serve as the final decision-making authority for the child.
When circumstances change to the extent that these arrangements need to be reconsidered, it is important that you have a strong family lawyer on your side who will fight for your best interests as well as your child’s. The experienced Atlanta family law attorneys at Kessler & Solomiany, LLC have a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of family law in Georgia, and we are driven and determined to achieve positive results for our clients.
Our Atlanta child custody and visitation attorneys understand how difficult it is when there are changes in your family dynamic, and we are here to help. Call us today at (404) 688-8810 or contact us online for a confidential consultation and let us get to work for you.