Sometimes circumstances change after the judge makes the original custody decision and it is necessary to retain a Huntsville child custody lawyer. 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. Their Madison County child custody attorney must do this while also proving that custody change would not cause any disruptions in the child’s life.
The child custody lawyer in Madison County can file a petition to change custody for you. 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 child custody attorney can do an Amended Settlement Agreement for you as well if both parents just want to go back and change something together. This is where both parents agree on the change and there is usually not a hearing as long as it is filed by the custody attorney correctly. Our Huntsville child custody attorney charges 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 Huntsville child custody lawyer is usually $2500. This could be more depending on circumstances but you would need to speak with our custody lawyer in Madison County to get a quote. The attorney uses the retainer fee to cover their time spent on the case. Any work performed on the case is done at an hourly rate, which will be covered under this fee. Give us a call for a quick phone consult with a child custody lawyer in Huntsville to find out more about filing a custody petition.
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 Madison County and Morgan County custody attorneys can help you modify custody if your prior decree was in Huntsville, Meridianville, Harvest, Hazel Green, New Hope, or Madison County. If married then custody can be determined in your divorce filing. If not married, a petition for custody can still be filed in the Madison County Courts. Call our Huntsville child custody lawyer today and let us help you.