Sometimes circumstances change after a Court makes an original custody decision. For there to be any custodial change, there has to be something called a substantial change in circumstances. Substantial changes of the custodial parent are that they are unfit and the child is in danger. Dangers include the custodial parent abusing drugs or alcohol, abusive, neglectful, or they are mentally ill.
The non-custodial parent can file a petition to modify custody if there has been a change. This petition should include all allegations and reasons for the change of custody in Birmingham. The parent must then prove why their home if the best for the child. They also have to prove that the proposed custodial change would not cause any disruptions in the child’s life.
After the child custody lawyer files their petition to change custody then the other party will be served. Once served, they then have thirty days to file a response. During the hearing, both sides present evidence and witnesses to explain their position. After that, the Court will ultimately make a decision on whether to alter the custody arrangement or not.
Our family law attorney can do an Amended Settlement Agreement if both parties agree to the change in custody. If an agreement is reached, then there does not have to be a hearing and the judge can Order the custodial change very easily. However, for parents that are not in agreement it is much more expensive.
The retainer fee for our Birmingham child custody lawyer is thousands of dollars, depending on circumstances. The divorce attorney in Birmingham then uses the retainer fee to cover the filing of the petition in the court. Any work performed on the case is done at an hourly rate and will be covered under this fee. Give us a call for a quick phone consult with a child custody lawyer in Birmingham to find out more about custody petition.
The “best interest of the child” is the standard used during the custody hearing. In general, judges are hesitant to change custody due to possibly disruption in the child’s life. As for 2022, the Courts follow the strict McLendon standard when determining custody, which is a legal standard that has long been the law on this issue. Under this standard, during the petition hearing the parent seeking custody must show the following:
That there was a material change in circumstances that occurred after the previous Court Order.
That the change in custody would be in the child’s best interest.
That any disruptive effects resulting from this change can be outweighed by the benefits of the custody change.
Alabama courts will usually favor the rights of the parents over all others, including grandparents. The judge may consider all relevant evidence in the matter. Several factors can be taken into consideration by the judge there is a petition to change custody. These include:
health and needs of the child
age, mental, and financial stability of parties
interpersonal relationship between child and parents
interference by a parent with the other parent’s relationship with the child
the desires of the child
Petitions should list every single allegation and rationale for a change in custody. Our Hoover divorce attorneys can help you modify custody if your Order was in Birmingham, Hoover, Hueytown, Trussville, Gardendale, Bessemer, or anywhere else in Jefferson County.