Sometimes circumstances change after the judge makes the original custody decision. For a judge to make any custodial changes, there has to be substantial change. Substantial changes of the custodial parent is that they are unfit and the child is in danger. Dangers include the custodial parent abuses drugs or alcohol, abusive, neglectful, or they are mentally ill.
The non-custodial parent can file a petition to modify custody. This petition should include all allegations and reasons for the change of custody. The parent must then prove why they are better for the child. While also proving that custody change would not cause any disruptions in the child’s life.
The child custody lawyer files a petition to change custody. Soon after, the parent with primary custody is notified and served. Once served, they have thirty days to respond. During the hearing, both sides present evidence and witnesses to explain the changes. After that, the judge will ultimately decide whether to change custody or not.
Our Elmore County custody lawyer can do an Amended Settlement Agreement. Where both parents agree on the change and skip a hearing. Costing a low flat fee (plus filing fee) to complete the paperwork. However, for parents not in agreement, it can be more expensive.
The starting retainer fee for our Millbrook child custody lawyer starts at $2500. This could be more depending on circumstances. The local child custody attorney in Montgomery and Elmore County uses the retainer fee to cover the filing of the petition in the court. Any work performed on the case at an hourly rate, will be covered under this fee. Give us a call for a free phone consult with a child custody lawyer in Millbrook to find out more about custody petition.
Custody Attorneys in Elmore County
The “best interest of the child” is used during the initial custody determination. Judges are hesitant to change custody. Mostly due to disruption to the child. Judges are more strict during the petition custody hearings. Courts follow the strict McLendon standard. During the petition hearing, the parent seeking custody must show the following:
That there was a material change in circumstances that has occurred since the previous Order regarding custody.
That the change in custody would be in the best interest of the child materially.
That the disruptive effects resulting from this change in custody are outweighed by the benefits of the custody change.
Alabama courts usually favor the rights of the child’s parents over all others, including grandparents. The judge may consider any evidence deemed relevant to the case. Several factors are taken into consideration when there is a petition to change custody. Which 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 wishes of the child
Petitions should list all allegations and reasons for a change in custody. All petitions must be filed in county where the original custody case was decided. Our custody attorneys can help you modify custody if your prior decree was in Millbrook, Elmore, or surrounding areas of Elmore County. If married, file for a Elmore County divorce. After that, custody can be obtained in the divorce filing. If not married, a petition for custody can still be filed in Millbrook.