Making a Modification of Child Custody or Visitation

Over time, what is best for your children will likely change significantly. At F. Marian Weeks, P.C., Attorneys at Law, we understand that dynamics and circumstances change and that a modification of child custody might become necessary. We are here to help in every step of the process to complete modification of a court order in Georgia.

Our law firm takes great pride in guiding clients through the entire divorce process and assisting with any post-divorce matters that arise. We routinely help families throughout Cobb County, Cherokee County and Paulding County with changing a court order or divorce agreement.

In general, modification of child custody can be sought under the following circumstances:

  • Changes to a child's schedule or parent's working hours: Your parenting plan is also part of your child custody agreement. To change a visitation schedule it will be necessary to make a modification to your child custody order.
  • Parental relocation or move away: If one parent decides to move out-of-state, he or she must notify the court and the noncustodial parent prior to any relocation.
    • In essence, any proposed relocation will warrant a modification of the existing child custody arrangement. We represent parents who are considering moving with their child and parents who have been informed that their former spouse is considering moving away with their child.
  • An unfit parent: If the custodial parent is no longer fit for custody, we can arrange for an emergency hearing to petition for a change in custody or visitation.
    • The reasons a parent may be deemed unfit include mental or physical health issues, substance abuse issues or the presence of unsafe conditions for the child.
  • Material change in child's best interests: The noncustodial parent can petition for a custody modification if they believe it is not in the child's best interests to remain with the custodial parent.
    • Reasons may include that the custodial parent's working hours have changed or their travel demands have increased, problems in school attendance/tardiness, the development of emotional or behavioral problems, or a parent's new partner severely disrupting the child's life.

Children's Rights in Custody Modification

If the child is between 11 and 14, they may choose to speak with the judge and voice their choice regarding the parent with whom they wish to reside. The judge may take this choice under advisement, but is under no obligation to follow it.

If the child is older than 14, they have the right to make an election, and the judge will give this preference strong consideration. However, the overriding concern of the judge when considering child custody modification is always what is in the best interests of the child.

In certain cases, the court will appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) to represent the child and their best interests. The GAL is a neutral third party who reports back to the judge about circumstances at home and school after speaking with teachers, therapists, physicians, psychologists and other parties. The role of the GAL is to provide the judge with information to help them make a final determination regarding a proposed modification of child custody or visitation.

Schedule a Meeting With One of Our Lawyers

We are available in Marietta and at your convenience at 770-884-6296 and by email. We offer free 30-minute initial consultations in all cases, and we look forward to speaking with you.