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Custody Modification

For many parents, the biggest fight with their ex is about getting more time with their child. If you have a court order specifying when each parent has the child, you must go back to court to modify that court order if your ex is unwilling to give you more time with your child. This process is a custody modification. The lawyers at Carmody, Stewart, & Mixon can walk you through this process as you fight for more time with your child.

How do I get a custody modification?

In Mississippi, the Chancery Court judge will only grant a modification of a custody order when there has been a material change in circumstances that is adverse to the minor child. The material change must have occurred since the current court order was signed. A material change in circumstances may occur when one parent frequently gets the child to school late or has a new significant other around the minor child. A material change could also occur when a parent enters treatment for addiction, moves, or has a new work schedule. Whatever the material change is, it must be adverse to the child and it must be in the child’s best interest to modify the custody order.

The best interest of the child is the paramount consideration in all custody matters. To find a custody arrangement that is in the best interest of the child, the Chancery Court judge will consider factors such as the home life of each parent, the employment responsibilities of each parent, the age and health of each parent, the emotional ties between the parent and the child, and even the child’s preference if they are old enough to have a preference. It’s important to have a family lawyer who understands how these factors affect your case and can use them to get you more time with your child.

The two types of custody:

A custody modification can apply to both physical and legal custody. Physical custody is exactly what it sounds like: which parent takes the child to school in the morning, does bathtime at night, and takes the child to their baseball game on the weekend. Physical custody describes which parent physically has the child at which times during the week or month. The address of the child’s physical custodial parent is generally the address that is used to enroll the child in public school. Legal custody is the right of the parent to make decisions for their child: decisions such as which pediatrician to go to, whether the child will participate in religious training, or whether to enroll the child in private school or public school.

In a custody modification, one parent may lose legal custody but maintain joint physical custody, or both parents may share joint legal and physical custody but the physical custody schedule may change. If you have been served with papers for a custody modification, it’s important to hire a lawyer who will work to protect your right to raise your child.

When should I file for a custody modification?

Going to court to fight for your child is always a difficult, stressful decision. Here are some signs it may be time to call Carmody, Stewart, & Mixon to have a free consultation with a family law lawyer about a custody modification:

  • Changes in your ex’s home are continuously making your child upset, anxious, or angry.
  • Your ex has a different work schedule than they did when the current custody order was signed leaving little time for your ex to parent the child.
  • There is abuse, neglect, or drug or alcohol abuse in your ex’s home.
  • Your child is 12 years old or older and has expressed a preference for living with one parent over another.
  • Your ex is living with a family member or significant other who poses a physical, emotional, or mental harm to your child.
  • Your ex cannot hold stable employment or housing or they cannot provide food or clothing for the child during their parenting time.

Your time with your child only lasts a few short years. Don’t miss more time than you have to. Call Carmody, Stewart, & Mixon today to discuss modifying your custody order to get more time with your child.

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