When families litigate custody matters, the courts may invest quite a bit of time in the creation of a reasonable parenting plan. Connecticut family law judges often have to learn about a family’s parental relationships, employment situations and numerous other details about family circumstances to make informed decisions regarding how they will divide parenting time and responsibility for affected children.
Most of the time, parents simply need to uphold the terms of a parenting plan carefully, but sometimes they recognize that the arrangements aren’t ideal after they have been put into place. A modification is a formal change to a custody order that can alter the division of parenting time or otherwise change how adults share responsibility for the children in their family after a formal order has already been entered.
When might a Connecticut family law judge grant a modification?
Requests that are not mutually agreed upon by parents are generally granted when they arise after a significant change in circumstances. The standard for custody changes in Connecticut is simple and yet open to interpretation. A judge will grant a hearing and review the situation if there has been a significant change in family circumstances. Numerous factors might qualify as a significant change, including:
- a change in parental employment
- a change to a child’s school
- the development of medical issues
- the formation of new romantic relationships
- the decision to move to a new household
- reports of abuse or neglect
Any material change in the circumstances of the parents in the family, the children they share or the relationships that bind them could be reason to pursue a modification.
How do judges decide about modification requests?
Parents who agree about what changes their custody plan requires could file an uncontested modification request. Those who do not agree will require a judge’s review, and their decisions will focus on the best interests of the children. Parents hoping to convince the judge to give them more time with the children or authority in one area of their lives would do well to frame their request in the context of the children’s needs rather than their own desires.
Learning more about Connecticut family law rules can help those who want to change custody orders make use of the legal system to better maintain their relationship with their children.