Can I change custody awarded in a prior divorce decree?

custody in alabama mattersOften times parents of minor children divorce. After the divorce, the court orders certain custody arrangements. Are you currently unhappy with the custody arrangement or visitation? Has something occurred that warrants a change of the custody as awarded? Is the parent who has custody of the minor child, not keeping their end of the bargain? If so, our child custody lawyers can help you. Our experienced family law attorneys can always help with your case. Custody or visitation changes can happen at any time after your Montgomery or Birmingham divorce. Custodial changes are done up to or until the minor children reaches the age of 19. This can also include such things as if the minor child marries or becomes self-supporting. Alabama courts follow a standard when it comes to existing custody orders that needs to be changed. This standard is called “Ex Parte McLendon.” The parent who wishes to change or modify the custody order, must prove the following:

  • A material change in circumstance has occurred since the initial or previous order of the court.
  • The best interest of the child will change.
  • The benefits of the change in custody will balance any effects on the child from a change in custody.

With custody changes, the judge will analyze what the best interest of the child is. The judge will consider the factors such as:

  1. What is the home environment of the residence of either parent.
  2. What is the nature and relationship of the child with each parent and siblings.
  3. The age, character, stability, mental, and physical health of the parents.
  4. The parent’s ability to provide for the child’s needs.
  5. The age and sex of the child. In addition to, the child’s emotional, social, moral, material, and educational needs.
  6. What effects come from changing the existing custody on the child.
  7. What is the child’s preference.
  8. Is the child of sufficient age and maturity to decide.

Custodial Changes in AlabamaThere are several material changes in circumstances that could effect the change of custody. For example:

  1. One party proves confirmed drug use or alcohol abuse of one parent.
  2. One party moves out of the state with the minor children. This is a problem when both parents share joint legal and physical custody of the minor children.
  3. There is direct violation of a current enforced visitation order and custody.
  4. Instances of the child neglect or danger, while in custody of one party.

Are you concerned with the current custody arrangement of your minor children? Do you think your concerns warrant a modification? If so, call our experienced child custody attorney John Tyler Winans at (334)-782-9938 and let us help you through these difficult times.

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