Indianapolis Child Custody Modification Attorney

How is child custody determined?

When children are involved in divorce or separation, child custody must be arranged. It can be agreed to by the parties in a settlement or determined by the court after a hearing. The court must consider the best interests of the children when determining custody. When a settlement is reached by both parents, the court must still approve the agreement to ensure it places the child’s best interests first.

Can a custody order be altered once it is ruled upon?

No law or mandate is truly irreversible, not even if it comes from the President of the United States. If you are not pleased with the custody order the divorce court has ruled upon for your case, you can follow legal guidelines in Indiana State law to have it altered, or modified. Modification of a court custody order requires two things, though.

  1. Child’s benefit: The alteration you want cannot harm or inconvenience your child. Example: You cannot ask to stop paying child support if that would mean that your child goes hungry.
  2. Significant change: The original circumstances approved by the court’s original order need to change drastically. Example: You were ordered to pay child support because you make much more than your ex-spouse but an unforeseen job loss has rendered your income null. (See below for more information.)

Can I agree with my ex-spouse to modify custody?

The easiest way to modify custody is by agreement. This occurs when the parties reach a mutual decision that changing custody from one parent to the other is in the best interests of the child. In these circumstances, the parties would first enter into an agreement providing for the modification of custody, then that agreement would be filed with the court for review and approval. Even if the parties agree to a modification, the court may choose to hold a hearing so the parties can explain why they believe modification is in the child's best interests.

What if my ex-spouse does not agree to change custody?

Custody is often modified when one parent does not believe it is in the best interests of the child for the other parent to have custody. The party seeking the change of custody will file a petition with the court alleging that there has been a substantial change in circumstances that warrants a modification of the court's prior custody order. The court will then schedule a hearing where both parents will be able to present the necessary evidence to support their respective positions and modification request.

What is considered a substantial change in circumstances?

What precisely constitutes a "substantial change" is a challenging issue for individuals and courts to assess. Custody cases are usually very complex and the factors that may lead a parent to seek a modification of custody are extensive. Common situations include allegations of physical or mental abuse, significant changes in the financial situation of the custodial parent, health issues of the parent or child, a contention that the home environment provided by the custodial parent is unsafe, or the relocation of the custodial parent.

What should I consider before seeking a modification of custody?

If a custody modification is contested (meaning the other parent does not agree), then the parent seeking the change should be prepared for what will likely be a contentious hearing. Custody modification proceedings almost always involve allegations that the other parent is not suitable to be provided with more time or maintain the extent of time that they currently have. As a result, the decision to seek a modification of custody must be evaluated with the utmost concern for the emotional impact on the parents and child.

Retain an Indianapolis Child Custody Lawyer Today

If you need to have your child custody arrangement modified or are seeking to protect the order from the other parent’s petitions, be sure to call on Hollingsworth & Zivitz for support. Our team of seasoned and compassionate Indianapolis child custody attorneys is fully prepared to help with your case. We can use our years of insight to resolve your case in a favorable manner!

Ready to talk about your child custody needs? Contact our family lawyers in Carmel to discuss your best options. We can advocate for clients in Indianapolis, Marion and Hamilton Counties and throughout all of Central Indiana!

Get the legal help you need now!

Start with a consultation with our lawyers.

Send My Message