Whether a custody plan is agreed upon by the parents out of court or created through a court order, it is important to adhere to it. Children need security and stability in their home environment, and sticking to a custody plan is a good way to ensure these needs are met. However, there may come a time when one or both parents feel the need to change the existing custody situation. Kentucky statutes dictate how this may be done.
First of all a motion for the modification of a custody order cannot be entered into hastily. In general, parents must wait at least two years since the creation of the order before they can move the court to modify it, unless one of two situations exists.
For example, one reason a custody order may be modified prior to the two-year mark is if the child's present living situation puts their physical, emotional, moral or mental health in danger. Another reason a custody order may be modified prior to the two-year mark is if the child has since been placed in the care of a de facto custodian.
Absent those two situations, a modification will be allowed by the court if it finds a change in circumstances has occurred in either the life of the child or the parent, and it is in the child's best interests that the current custody order be modified. Some factors the court will consider include the child's integration with the family of the parent seeking modification, the statutory factors involved in determining the child's best interests, whether the child's current living situation endangers his or her health and whether any harm that may come with a modification outweighs its advantages.
Most parents in Kentucky want their child to grow up in a healthy and loving environment. Sometimes this means changing a custody order as the needs of the child and parent change. Parents who want to learn more about child custody modifications should do their research so that they can understand whether modification is a good choice for them and their child.