There are two different standards to change a child custody arrangement depending on the way that your previous child custody judgment was set. The first type is where the judge takes evidence of parental fitness and then the judge decides which parent should have custody of the child and when. To change this type of custody arrangement after divorce the parent requesting a change must show there has been a change in circumstances since the court established the previous custody award and that the continuation of the present custody is so deleterious to the child as to justify a modification of the custody decree, or that the harm likely caused by a change in environment is substantially outweighed by its advantages to the child.
The second way to set a child custody arrangement is by consent of the parents after divorce. This type does not involve the court making a judgment of parental fitness, instead just finding that the arrangement that the parents have worked out themselves is in the best interests of their child. The standard applied to the proponent attempting to change this type of custody decree is to show that there has been a material change in circumstances and that the proposed modification is in the best interests of the child.
This second type is far easier to overcome. If a court finds that the standard has not changed enough, the court may find that the request to change custody has already been decided and dismiss a suit to change custody.
It is important to keep these standards in mind and to look for facts which may convince a court to undo your custody judgment. Because of this, it is important to be able to keep track of your child's Facebook or Myspace page. Content from these social networking websites can easily be printed out and used against you to show that you are allowing the child to things that may not be in your child's best interests. These sites can also show whether your child is accessing these sites while at school which could reflect on your judgment in your choice of schools.
Also, it can be really important make sure that your child desires to live with you as the child becomes older. You may find yourself walking a fine line of both maintaining order and to make sure that your child is happy living with your. Courts sometimes ask children which household that they would prefer to most often live in after divorce. Courts should not, however, accept your child's decision if it is not in that child's best interests.
While maintaining child custody can be a challenge over the long-term, understanding the law that courts will likely apply to your case should bring a lot more clarity to you.
The above material is intended for information purposes only. It is not intended as professional legal advice and should not be construed as such.