Child custody orders in Kentucky are based on the needs of the child, and they may be modified if those needs change. However, this is rarely done until at least two years have passed. They could be changed during the first two years if the child moves out of the custodial parent’s home or the arrangements in place could place them in danger. Parents can choose to revise child custody orders without going to court, but this would leave them with no legal way to enforce the new arrangements.
When parents agree
When the custodial and noncustodial parent agree that child custody arrangements should be modified, a court hearing may not be necessary. In these situations, the parents should draft a new child custody agreement and then submit it to the court. It is important that the new agreement specifies the reason why the original arrangement no longer serves the best interests of the child. While parents who agree to new custody arrangements are not usually required to appear in court, they may be asked to submit documents to the court to prove that the change would benefit the child.
When parents disagree
When parents become embroiled in a dispute over a child custody modification, the parent who wants to change the arrangement should request a court hearing. During the hearing, the parent who wishes to modify the child custody order must convince the judge that the situation has changed significantly and a new arrangement would benefit the child. Parents can also request a child custody evaluation. If they do, a professional will interview the parents, the child and any other interested parties such as family members and then submit their recommendations to the court.
Legal help with child custody disputes
Experienced family law attorneys could advise parents involved in child custody disputes to do everything they can to reach an amicable agreement. If this is not possible and the matter will be left to a judge to decide, attorneys may advocate on behalf of parents during child custody modification hearings. Attorneys could also help parents to draft new child custody agreements that make the reasons for changing the existing arrangements clear.