When parents divorce, the child custody agreements they must adhere to afterward can sometimes become challenging.
The first step to ensuring an agreement works well for both spouses is pursuing a custody case with an experienced child custody attorney; even then, situations can arise after the fact that make living under existing agreements difficult.
When that happens because of unavoidable situations and it is not possible to work it out with your ex-spouse, a child custody lawyer can help you find an appropriate and legal solution to the problem.
Child Custody Orders Are Legal Orders
The most important thing for both parents to realize after their divorce is that the child custody agreement finalized by the family court is a legal order that will be enforced by the court if necessary.
To reach a point both spouses can easily work to fulfill the court’s custody requirements, your child custody attorney is instrumental in the negotiations and drafting of a fair and feasible agreement for court approval.
When and if situations change and either spouse fails to adhere to the agreement, it could result in legal problems for the non-compliant parent if the court must become involved once again.
Problems may arise as time goes on; however, that does not relieve either parent from finding a way to adhere to the agreement.
Common Issues That Can Make Child Custody Orders Complicated
Although most parents do manage to adhere to their custody agreements, child custody lawyers are aware of certain common circumstances that can happen and make it difficult or even impossible to do:
- Relocation or Moving - Situations where one parent must relocate for a job or move for some other reason can create problems in existing custody orders, which usually require the children to remain within a certain distance to the custodial parent. In these cases, legal changes to the custody agreement may be warranted.
- Domestic Violence or Child Neglect - Allegations of domestic violence or neglect in a child custody case are a serious concern and one that must be carefully examined by the court to determine what, if any, changes should be made to the existing custody order.
- Disputes - Disagreements between parents regarding the custody order are common but not always a reason for the order to be changed. Parents dealing with disputes that they cannot resolve themselves may need the assistance of their child custody attorney to discuss the issues and determine what the legal options are for resolving them.
- Children with Disabilities or Special Needs - The parents of children with disabilities who require special care and consideration must be able to continuously provide that extra level of care or face being in violation of the custody agreement.
- Temporary Orders - When divorces take extra time, the family court may create temporary custody orders to be followed while it is in process. When the divorce is final, those orders could change and failing to abide by those changes is a violation of the court order.
How Should These Custody Issues Be Resolved?
When disagreements or other issues preventing compliance with a current custody order occur, it is essential that these issues are resolved, either collectively by both parents or legally with the help of a child custody lawyer and the family court.
In a best-case scenario, co-parents are encouraged to put aside their differences and think in terms of what is best for the children when ironing out any difficulties that may arise with the current court order.
It is possible to come to these adjusted agreements on your own or your attorney can help come up with an acceptable plan if necessary.
If no acceptable plan can be agreed upon or the issue concerns someone moving out of the area or something more serious like allegations of abuse or neglect, it is best to refer back to the courts to resolve the problem.
It is possible to request a legal modification to the agreement or bring the case back to the family court so they can judge the current situation and take any necessary steps to ensure children are protected and the custody agreement is acceptable.
Talk To An Attorney When Custody Agreements Get Difficult
Although every effort is made to create child custody agreements that allow parents to co-parent amicably, there are times when things happen and situations change.
Both spouses can try to resolve minor issues on their own; however, if an agreement cannot be reached or the situation is a serious one, it is wise to refer back to your child custody attorney.
With the help of an experienced child custody lawyer, you can review the situation and the options available and seek the assistance of the family court if necessary when custody orders need changing or a parent is in violation of following the order.