How Do You Modify an Existing GA Custody Order?

Custody orders protect children and their parents when the parents no longer live together or are divorced. They are court orders that each parent must abide by. Failure to do so can lead to severe consequences, including losing visitation or custody rights. Although custody orders are meant to be permanent, Georgia family courts recognize that changes are sometimes necessary and helpful. What should you do if you want to modify a Georgia custody order? Your first step should be to ensure that an experienced Georgia family law attorney represents you.

Discuss Your Needs or Ideas With Your Child's Other Parent

Whenever possible, it's best if you start with your child's other parent if you need a custody modification. While this might not be possible, depending upon the status of your relationship, getting them on board will make modifications a lot easier. Try to pick a time where you aren't rushed, and neither of you is stressed or upset about something. Explain to them your position and your ideas. Be willing to negotiate other aspects of your custody agreement if necessary. Alternatively, your Georgia family law attorney might be able to contact their attorney to work something out.

If you can reach an agreement, it's still crucial to take it to the judge and get them to sign off on it. Verbal or even written agreements that aren't signed off by the court are difficult to enforce and could wind up with you facing unforeseen consequences.

Suppose you know you can't approach them with your request, or you do, and you still can't agree. Your next step is to file a motion with the court.

File a Motion in Court

If you want to change an existing court order and your child’s other parent won’t agree to the change, you must file a written request, known as a motion, requesting that the judge modify the custody order. In addition, your Georgia family law lawyer can file this motion on your behalf.

In most cases, family courts will modify an existing order only if the parent requesting the change can prove “substantial change in circumstances,” such as:

  • One parent is moving
  • A significant work schedule change
  • Health issues with the child
  • A child has turned fourteen years old and chooses to live with the other parent

Such a requirement boosts the stability of custody arrangements. It also helps keep the court from becoming overburdened with recurrent and frequent child custody modification requests.

Discuss Your Situation with a Seasoned Georgia Family Law Attorney Today

Whatever your custody modification needs are, it's in your best interest to discuss them with a Georgia family law lawyer. Your attorney can help you see the situation realistically and possibly negotiate changes with your child's other parent. They can help ensure that any agreement you reach is enforceable by the courts. If you can't reach an agreement, they can represent you in asking the court to make changes to your child custody orders. Learn more about how an attorney can help— call Banks, Stubbs & McFarland today at 770.887.1209 or contact us online.