Once a child custody order is in place, former couples are legally required to abide by the terms of that order. If you violate a custody order, you may be held in contempt and the judge may require you to serve time in jail, especially if it is not your first violation. So what should you do if you can no longer abide by the original terms of your custody order? Your best option is to file a request for modification.
Should I request a modification?
Once a child custody order is finalized, courts will not permit you to make changes to that order without good reason. According to Kentucky Revised Statutes, Chapter 403.340, you may not file for a modification of your custody order within two years of its implementation unless:
- The terms of the current child custody order may seriously endanger the child’s ‘physical, mental, emotional, or moral health.’
- The child has been placed with a defacto custodian by the custodian appointed by the prior decree.
As the court determines whether to grant the modification, it will consider a variety of factors including:
- Whether the other parent agrees to the modification
- The best interests of the child under Kentucky Revised Statutes 403.270(2)
- Whether the child is endangered in any way
- Whether the negatives of the change will outweigh the positives when it comes to the child
- Whether the child is with a defacto custodian
The court will determine whether the child’s environment is in their best interest by considering the health of all parties, relationship between the child and each parent, presence of domestic violence (if any), and failure of one or both parents to abide by the terms of the current order.
Legal experts generally advise that you continue to abide by the terms if possible, until the modification is officially granted by the court. If you need assistance with filing your modification, it may be helpful to contact a family law attorney in your area.