Child custody arrangements may need to change based on evolving circumstances. Georgia law establishes when and how parents can request a modification of the existing custody order.
Families can review the modification process if the current custody plan no longer fits their needs.
Substantial change in circumstances
The parent asking for modification must show a substantial change in circumstances. They must also demonstrate that this change affects the child’s well-being. Examples include a parent’s relocation, a change in the child’s needs or a shift in the parent’s work schedule.
Child’s best interest standard
Courts prioritize the best interests of the child when evaluating custody modifications. Any proposed changes must maintain a stable and supportive environment that meets the child’s physical, emotional and developmental needs.
Mental health is an important concern. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 6 million children struggle with anxiety and 2.7 million with depression.
If both parents agree to the modification, the process can be relatively straightforward. However, the court will review their new plan to ensure the changes serve the child’s well-being.
If one parent seeks a modification and the other does not agree, the requesting parent must file a petition with the court. The requestor must provide adequate documentation supporting the need for the change. The court will then consider the proposed modifications in light of the child’s best interests.
Parents should approach child custody modifications with a clear understanding of the legal process. Even if you and the other parent agree on the new arrangement, you should document the change with a new custody order. Otherwise, both parents remain responsible for following the existing order.