When a child custody arrangement is established, it is meant to provide stability and consistency for the child. However, as time passes, circumstances can change, and what once worked for the family may no longer be working. In those types of cases, it might be a good idea to ask the court to modify the custody arrangement.
In Mississippi, there are specific rules and procedures for child custody modifications. In this blog post, we will discuss the rules for custody modifications, how the process works, and the importance of hiring an experienced family law attorney to handle your custody modification case.
Rules for Custody Modifications in Mississippi
In Mississippi, a child custody modification can only be granted if there has been a material change in circumstances in the custodial home that negatively affects the child’s welfare. Some examples of material changes in circumstances that may justify a custody modification include:
- The custodial parent has become unable to provide proper care for the child due to illness, addiction, or other reasons
- The custodial parent has hidden the child, making the current custody arrangement impossible
- The child’s needs have changed, and the custodial parent is unable to provide for those needs
- The custodial parent has been abusive or neglectful towards the child
- The custodial parent has been incarcerated
It is important to note that some changes, such as a change in the parent’s employment or financial status, might not be enough to warrant a custody modification. The focus is on the child’s welfare and whether the current custody arrangement is still in their best interests.
It is also important to note that the material change in circumstances must have occurred in the custodial home. For example, if Mom has custody and Dad has visitation, and Dad wants to get custody, Dad would have to show the court that there has been a material change in circumstances in Mom’s home, since Mom is the one who currently has custody. It doesn’t matter if there have been changes in Dad’s home. The court is only looking at whether there have been significant changes in the Mom’s home that are negatively affecting the child, because Mom is the custodial parent in this situation.
The Process of Obtaining a Custody Modification in Mississippi
To obtain a custody modification in Mississippi, the first step is to file a petition with the court that issued the original custody order. The petition should state the reasons for the requested modification and explain how the proposed modification would be in the child’s best interests.
Once the petition is filed, the other parent will be notified and given the opportunity to respond. If the other parent agrees to the modification, the court may grant the modification without the need for a hearing.
If the other parent does not agree to the modification, a hearing will be scheduled, and both parents will have the opportunity to present evidence and arguments in support of their positions. The court will consider all the evidence and make a decision based on the best interests of the child.
The Importance of Hiring an Experienced Family Law Attorney
Modifying a child custody arrangement is a complex legal process that requires a thorough understanding of Mississippi family law. An experienced family law attorney can provide invaluable guidance and support throughout the process, ensuring that your rights are protected and that your case is presented in the best possible light.
An attorney can help you:
- Determine whether a custody modification is the best option for your family
- Identify the material change in circumstances that would support a modification
- Prepare a persuasive petition that clearly outlines your reasons for seeking a modification
- Navigate the court system and represent you at all hearings and proceedings
- Negotiate with the other parent’s attorney to reach a settlement agreement, if possible
Hiring an attorney can also help you avoid common mistakes that can undermine your case, such as failing to present sufficient evidence or making emotional arguments that do not focus on the child’s best interests.
If you have been searching the Mississippi area for a qualified, experienced family law attorney, look no further than Vic Carmody Jr., P.A. Our firm can handle your case with a balance of compassion and confidence to guide you through one of the most difficult times a person can go through.
Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case and learn about your options.
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