The experience of divorce is challenging and difficult, especially if minor children are involved. With the addition of child support and child custody issues, the divorce process can be emotionally draining, confusing, and frustrating. The court’s highest goal is to create a custody arrangement that takes into account the child’s best interest. However, as time goes by following a divorce, life circumstances of either the child or parents may change. New homes, new marriages, and new jobs create new circumstances. Children grow older, and as they do, their activities, friends, needs, and interests shift and adjust. Life changes that occur for everyone involved are sometimes large enough to consider requesting a modification in the child custody arrangements. However, there are certain times in which a dangerous situation requires that one parent requests an emergency modification of custody.
Typical Child Custody Modification
If life circumstances have changed substantially since the divorce, and the current custody arrangement is no longer in the child’s best interest, either parent has the legal right to request a modification in the child custody order in the state of Arizona. If a parent has the desire to alter the child support agreement, parenting plan, or parenting schedule, there are two options: the parents can reach an agreement with one another, or a parent can ask for the court’s rule on the contested changes. If the parents reach an agreement with one another without official approval by a court, this may turn challenging at a later time. In most cases, it is always best to have a child custody modification approved by a court to avoid any legal issues in the future.
Reasons for Requesting a Typical Child Custody Modification
Some of the following are examples of reasons that a parent may request a typical child custody modification in the state of Arizona.
Changes in Emotional and Physical Stability of Parent
In some cases, a parent may undergo physical or emotional changes that affect their stability and therefore the environment of a child. Some examples of changes in the emotional or physical stability of a parent that would impact a child custody arrangement could include frequently entering into new relationships or marriages, frequently changing jobs, losing a job, having unpredictable work schedules, moving frequently or not having a current stable place of residence, or failing to make the child available to the other parent for visitation. In other cases, a parent may relocate to another school district, city or state. As a result, the parents will need to come up with an alternative child custody arrangement that better suits their needs given that type of substantial change.
Changes in the Academic, Emotional, or Physical Needs of the Child
As time goes on following a divorce, a parent may notice that the academic, emotional, or physical needs of a child may change. As a result, the official child’s best interest according to the court may also change. Any significant or substantial changes to a child’s needs can be addressed through a child custody modification request to the court. For example, if a child becomes heavily involved in an after school activity or sport, needs counseling, or needs additional tutoring or assistance with school, it may require a modification in child custody in order to accommodate those changes. It is important to understand that even if both parents agree to the child custody modification change, that they should still take the time to provide an official request to the court so that there is a legal foundation and evidence of the mutually agreed upon change.
Emergency Child Custody Modification
If your child is showing behavior that may be a sign of physical or sexual abuse, call the police immediately. There are emergency measures for changing child custody in a situation where your child is in immediate danger in the current household. In circumstances like this, the court will consider whether there is immediate danger or domestic violence in the home of the other parent and issue an emergency order modifying the child custody arrangement.
Preparing an Emergency Child Custody Modification
There is nothing worse than sending your child into an environment where you think they may be, or you know, they are in danger. If this is the case, you may qualify to get temporary emergency custody, but only if you have evidence to support your claim. You must prove to the court that your child is in danger of serious, immediate bodily harm or the health, safety, and welfare of your child is in serious and immediate jeopardy. You need to give specific examples of what the emergency is, and why the situation is so serious that it warrants taking away someone’s child without giving him or her a chance to respond.
Examples of Causes to Request an Emergency Child Custody Modification
The court will approve an emergency child custody modification request only if the parent making the request has substantial proof that the child is in danger. Some of the examples that would prompt a judge to approve an emergency child custody modification can include the following:
- Evidence of physical abuse
- Evidence of sexual abuse
- Evidence of drug abuse or alcohol abuse
- Evidence of serious neglect
- Evidence proving the presence of dangerous persons (known felons, child abusers, etc.)
Visiting with an experienced divorce attorney can help you gather and collect this evidence to present to the court to ensure that you have a better chance of receiving approval for your emergency child custody modification in Arizona. The steps regarding an emergency child custody modification order are legally complex and challenging and in order to ensure that you have the best chance of removing your child from a dangerous environment, you may want to enlist the assistance of experienced legal counsel.
Additional Requirements for an Emergency Child Custody Modification
It is important to note that in order to receive an emergency child custody modification order, an original child custody order must already be in place and authorized by the court. If you do not have an established child custody order, visiting with an experienced family law attorney can help you create one that will help ensure that your child’s best interests are taken into account and the other parent has limited custody, or no custody depending on the seriousness of the issues involved.
How Emergency Child Custody Modification Requests Can Backfire
Courts take emergency child custody modification requests seriously and do not issue them lightly. If a parent is considering making an emergency child modification request in Arizona, it is important to carefully consider if this is the best course of legal action. While there are some cases where an emergency child custody modification is an easy decision to make because of the immediate danger to a child, courts will not look favorably on any parent frivolously making an emergency child custody modification request, or making a request without significant evidence.
In some cases, if an emergency child custody modification request does not have clear evidence regarding the endangerment of a child, the judge may not order the emergency child custody modification immediately, but rather set an expedited hearing within approximately a week. If, however, a judge determines that a parent is attempting to use the emergency child custody modification request as a way to simply have more time with their child, or for retaliative purposes against the other parent, the court may adopt a modification that directly harms and impacts the parent making the frivolous request. Visiting with a family attorney experienced in child custody modification matters can help you better understand what your best legal strategy should be given your unique set of facts and circumstances, and the actual issues surrounding your child’s custody arrangement. Because a parent may not fully understand all of the legal implications surrounding a child custody modification request, they may actually do substantial damage to their chance at time with their child if they make poor legal choices with respect to child custody matters.
How an Experienced Family Law Attorney Can Help You With Your Emergency Child Custody Modification in Arizona
If you are considering any type of child custody modification, especially an emergency child custody modification in Arizona, you should contact one of our experienced family law attorneys at My Modern Law in Scottsdale, Mesa, Peoria, or Phoenix, Arizona who can provide you a better understanding regarding which type of child custody modification you should seek for your unique set of facts and circumstances. The failure to follow court guidelines regarding child custody modification can result in serious legal consequences and the possible loss of child custody time for you personally. Contact our experienced family law attorneys at (480) 470-7731 or online today to learn more about how to protect your legal rights and how best to ensure your child stays safe and protected.