Getting custodial rights after a primary custody order
After the court issues a primary custody order, you may still be able to gain custodial rights at any time. If you feel that the custodial parent is unfit and the child may be better suited in your care, then you may still have the right to file for shared parental rights.
The modification process
It may be difficult to do this if you are not the legal or biological parent of the child. In those cases, the primary parent usually takes precedence.
If you do plan on contesting the custody order, then you may want to start with establishing a legitimate reason for challenging the agreement.
The child custody laws are variable from state to state, but there are some general factors that are taken into consideration. These include domestic violence, drugs or alcohol abuse and negligence.
Evidence to support your claim
Once you have stated your reasoning, you might want to gather any evidential support for your claim. This may include documents, photos, emails or any other messages that may solidify your case.
If it is possible, you may want to gather witnesses that can also testify your allegations.
Contacting the family court
Once the appropriate information is assembled, then you may opt to contact the family court where the custody order was originally filed and request a petition to modify the child custody agreements.
You may also be able to find an online form to help you build your own legal documentation. Retaining a copy of the original custody order may also help you as you complete your draft.
You may also want to include personal identifiers as well as your child’s information. Recording the original docket number from the original paperwork as well as your reasons for requesting the modification can be included in the form.
Filing the motion
After signing the motion, you can attach the documents and save personal copies for your records. Filing the motion can begin with contacting the family court clerk and getting a hearing set up. In general, the attachments and motion is sent to the custodial parent via mail or a hired courier.
It can be rare for the state to enable you to deliver these documents in person.
What to say at the court hearing
Once you attend the court hearing, it can be advised to state your request to modify the child custody agreement and your reasoning behind your appeal. This may also be an opportunity to present your evidence to the judge.
It might be a good idea to allow the primary parent to speak against your accusations as this may make you more favorable to the court. The final court decision can happen immediate upon the close of the case or you may be given a waiting period and another court date.
If the judge does decide to rule in your favor, then the new custody order may go into effect at once. However, if the judge does not grant you your request, there may still be a chance to repeal the judge’s decision or file another modification.
A child custody attorney may also provide you with the legal help you need to fight the custody orders if you are not sure how the modification process works.