Q: There was a contested divorce over ten years ago which led to an agreed settlement, giving the father physical custody.
On paper, there is legal joint custody with visitation for the mother. However, the dad often decides on his own and my input was seldom heard. The agreed child schedule has been half the week, every week. Child is with mom every Wednesday to Saturday, with dad every Saturday night to Wednesday. But mom still has to pay child support. Daughter is now over 12 years old and the mom wants to revisit the possibility of getting this changed, reversing the agreement for the mom to have physical custody and have the dad pay child support. Daughter has shared stories of neglect from the dad side, causing very unsafe situation for her, most of it due to leaving her alone and not giving the proper attention to protect her. Such neglect can lead to alcohol use when left unnoticed. Daughter overall is happy with both parents, but the teenage years do present a new set of challenges. Please share your professional advice if I can win the custody. thank you
A: The threshold for having a hearing for a change of custody is a "change of circumstances" since the original order/stipulation. If you can prove that there has been a change in the way the father supervises the child, etc. and that it would be in the best interests of your daughter to live with you, you would probably get a hearing. You then have to present facts to win the hearing.
A: As Ms. Mironenko has advised, to be able to revisit the agreement, you must first show that there is a substantial change in circumstances. Those changed circumstances must be presented in your application. However, unless you are also requesting that the visitation schedule be changed in my opinion you will have a weak case as the child who is being "neglected" will remain in the father's care for the same amount of time that she is now. What this case will then be about is child support. Have a consultation with an attorney and discuss all the facts before filing any papers.
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