Can Visitation Be Upgraded to Custody?

If you have a visitation schedule but would like to upgrade your status to having joint custody with your children’s other parent, it is a significant undertaking, but it can be accomplished in some situations. Such a modification will only be considered if your family has experienced a substantial change and if that change affects your children’s best interests. If you seek a custody modification, don’t wait to consult with an experienced Georgia personal injury attorney.

Identifying a Substantial Change

When it comes to making important decisions about children’s custody arrangements, the court looks at the unique circumstances of each case that comes before it and bases its decisions on the best interests of the children involved. That said, however, there are certain types of changes that the court is likely to take into consideration, including:

  • If you were experiencing substance abuse issues but have since been to treatment and have regained your health, this may move the court to consider your modification request.
  • If your child’s other parent has remarried, it could help move the needle in the direction of you obtaining joint custody (depending upon the circumstances).
  • If your child has demonstrated a dramatic change, such as problems at school, a sudden drop in grades, emotional difficulties, or any other concerning issue, the court is likely to take this into consideration.
  • If your child’s custodial parent is planning a move that’s a considerable distance away, the court will consider this move a substantial change that could warrant a custody modification.
  • In Georgia, if the child is 14, his or her preference is considered substantial enough to consider a custody modification. If the child is at least 11, his or her preference will be taken into consideration but is unlikely to carry the same weight. A younger child’s request is more likely to be granted if he or she is attempting to maintain the same custody arrangements that an older sibling has.
  • If the custodial parent has become unfit, unable, or unwilling to adequately care for the children in his or her custody, this development is grounds for a custody modification. If the situation is quite serious – such as a drug abuse problem or a mental illness that affects the children’s safety in the here and now – you might be able to obtain an emergency modification.

Every child custody modification case is utterly unique to the circumstances at hand and the people involved, but if you have experienced a substantial change that affects your children’s best interests, you may qualify for a child custody modification that allows you to participate more fully in your children’s lives.

You Need an Experienced Forsyth County Child Custody Attorney on Your Side

If you’re looking for a child custody modification, the dedicated family law attorneys at Banks, Stubbs & McFarland – serving both Forsyth County and Cumming – are committed to skillfully advocating on behalf of your legal rights and for you and your children’s best interests. For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at 770-887-1209 today.