The short answer to this inquiry is: yes, you have the right to modify child custody, visitation, and even alimony payments at a future date. This means that the agreement reached when you sign your divorce decree is not the final word on the topic. You and your former spouse may change almost everything, so long as you both agree. Here is a look at some situations during which you can modify your child custody and visitation:
If One Parent Moves Far Away
When both parents live in the same city, the initial child custody agreement may be fine. However, if one parent moves to a different city or state, he or she must reach a new agreement with the former spouse that is staying put. Often, this can involve foregoing weekly visitation hours in exchange for several weeks or summer or winter vacation with their children. A family law attorney can help you reach a favorable agreement if your living situation is drastically changing.
If One Parent Is In Trouble with the Law
In the event that a former spouse can be shown to be an unfit parent, the other partner can ask the court to reconsider its previous child custody and visitation agreements. This becomes an issue if a former spouse is convicted of drug abuse, domestic violence, or other crimes. Courts can use this information to adjust custody, visitation, and alimony decisions in favor of the rule-abiding parent. You have the right to protect your children, which can mean asking for the elimination of unsupervised visitation. The other spouse will then only be able to spend time with his or her children in the presence of a court-appointed monitor at their expense.
Adjusting child custody or visitation can be an emotional process, which is why it helps to have an experienced attorney by your side. California residents should consult the San Jose attorneys at Moreno Family Law. We offer free initial client consultations, so call (408) 266-9011 today to schedule an appointment.