As a divorced parent, you might need to modify your child custody arrangement. Sometimes, changing or modifying child custody can be touchy. An Akron child custody modification lawyer can guide you through the legal process and help you achieve a beneficial outcome for everyone.

Erb Legal has child custody attorneys who focus on the needs of clients and their children. We will compassionately listen to your story, then plan to achieve your goals. Even if we did not create your original child custody agreement, we can help.

Call us today at 330-249-1778 or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.

Tom Erb Jr. is the family lawyer you want in your corner.

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Types of Child Custody Modifications

It is reasonable to assume that sometimes, you or your ex will want or need to make changes to your original child custody agreement. Our lawyers can help you modify your child custody agreement, including those that involve:

  • Primary custody
  • Joint custody or shared parenting
  • Primary residential custody
  • Legal custody
  • Health insurance requirements
  • Transportation responsibilities
  • Visitation rights
  • Communication rights
  • Extracurricular expenses
  • Healthcare expenses
  • Education costs
  • Religious decision-making
  • Access to medical and educational records

If you have concerns about your child, we can develop a clause to address it through a parenting agreement.

How are “best interests of the child” determined?

How Can Child Custody Be Modified?

Child custody can be modified in two ways: A parenting agreement and a court decision.

Seek a Parenting Agreement

A parenting agreement to modify an existing child custody order means that you and your ex work together on the new arrangement. Both parents sign and submit the plan to the court. The court will sign off on the parenting plan and incorporate it into a legal order in most cases. The judge will not approve a parenting plan if it is not in the child’s best interests.

When developing a parenting plan, it is best to work with an experienced attorney. You will have to negotiate details with your child’s other parent, and they will only be looking out for themselves. They may coerce you into agreeing with something that is not beneficial to you or the child. With an attorney by your side, you can ensure that someone is protecting your parental rights.

Ask the Court To Decide

If the parents cannot agree to new terms in a parenting plan, then one parent may request that the court make a specific change. The other parent will have the opportunity to address the issue with the court as well. After listening to both sides, the judge will decide what is best for the child.

It is your right to have an attorney with you for any court appearance to modify your child custody arrangement.

Best Interests of the Child Standard

When the court makes any decision about child custody, they consider what is in the “best interests of the child.” Ohio Revised Code Section 3109.04(F)(1) describes some of the factors considered by the court to determine what is best, including the following:

  • The wishes of the child’s parents
  • The wishes and concerns of the child, as expressed to the court
  • The child’s interaction and interrelationship with parents, siblings, and anyone else who may significantly affect the child’s best interest
  • The child’s adjustment to home, school, and community
  • The mental and physical health of all people involved in the situation
  • The parent more likely to honor and facilitate court-approved parenting time rights or visitation and companionship rights
  • Whether either parent has failed to make child support payments
  • Whether either parent or any member of the household has been convicted or pleaded guilty to any criminal offense involving a child
  • Whether a parent has denied the other parent their rights to parenting time
  • Whether either parent has established a residence out of state

The judge may consider other factors if the parties in the case present them. You should give as much information as possible to the court to get a favorable outcome.

How Do You Make Child Custody Modifications Permanent?

Simply drafting a new parenting agreement with your co-parent will not be enough to make it enforceable by the court. Similarly, verbal contracts to make changes do not typically stand up in court either. You must get a court order to modify your child custody arrangement.

Process to Make Permanent Changes

Should you and your ex want to make permanent changes to your child custody agreement, you must submit your parenting agreement to the court. Remember, if you and your child’s other parent cannot agree, the court decides for you. This action could result in an undesired outcome.

Here are the steps to submit changes in your child custody to the Summit County Domestic Relations Court:

  • 1. Submit a Motion to Modify Child Custody and related legal forms.
  • 2. Pay a Filing Fee of $420.
  • 3. The court will schedule a hearing date.
  • 4. Attend the hearing with your attorney.
  • 5. Receive an order from the court modifying custody arrangements.

When child custody becomes a heated debate, there may be other steps, such as conferences, requirements for psychological exams and drug tests, and mediation. You could avoid a lot of stress and other conflicts when you hire a child custody lawyer to assist you.

An Akron Lawyer Helps You Modify Child Custody

While your original child custody situation might have been best at the time, things may have changed. When you need to modify your child custody arrangement, it is helpful to work closely with an attorney who is familiar with the court process in Summit County.

Let us help you through this complex legal process so that you can focus on your child’s well-being. Call Erb Legal today at 330-249-1778 or use our online contact form for a free consultation.