What if Your Custody Schedule is Not Working?
Custody arrangements are often based on your and your child’s current schedule. Life can get hectic, schedules can change, and the responsibilities of a parent and child can increase. If your current custody schedule is no longer working for you and your child, you should discuss your options with a Fairfax Child custody attorney at Curran Moher Weis.
A Virginia court will modify the current custody arrangement if there has been a material change in circumstances and it is in the best interest of the child that a modification be made.
A “material change in circumstances” is fact specific and can include, for example, new emotional, intellectual, and physical needs of a child, the relocation of a parent, a strained relationship with the custodial parent, a custodial parent’s alcohol or drug addiction, or a parent’s remarriage.
When considering a modification is in the best interest of the child, the court will consider the following 10 factors from Virginia Code Section 20-124.3:
- The age and physical and mental condition of the child, giving due consideration to the child’s changing developmental needs;
- The age and physical and mental condition of each parent;
- The relationship existing between each parent and each child, giving due consideration to the positive involvement with the child’s life, the ability to accurately assess and meet the emotional, intellectual, and physical needs of the child;
- The needs of the child, giving due consideration to other important relationships of the child, including but not limited to siblings, peers, and extended family members;
- The role that each parent has played and will play in the future, in the upbringing and care of the child;
- The propensity of each parent to actively support the child’s contact and relationship with the other parent, including whether a parent has unreasonably denied the other parent access to or visitation with the child;
- The relative willingness and demonstrated the ability of each parent to maintain a close and continuing relationship with the child, and the ability of each parent to cooperate in and resolve disputes regarding matters affecting the child;
- The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of reasonable intelligence, understanding, age, and experience to express such a preference;
- Any history of (i) family abuse as that term is defined in § 16.1-228; (ii) sexual abuse; (iii) child abuse; or (iv) an act of violence, force, or threat as defined in § 19.2-152.7:1that occurred no earlier than 10 years prior to the date a petition is filed. If the court finds such a history or act, the court may disregard the factors in subdivision 6; and
- Such other factors as the court deem necessary and proper to the determination.
If you believe that your current custody arrangement is no longer in the best interest of your child, be sure to speak with an attorney at Curran Moher Weis.