Modifying Child Custody Agreements That Harm The Child

Question:Kevin Mammola Atlanta Divorce Attorney

Can child custody agreements be modified if the parenting plan in place is having an adverse affect on the child?

My son is a wonderful father to his daughter, who is a toddler. The visitation schedule calls for each parent to have her every other week. The problem is the parents live 200 miles from each other, and this will be a problem when his daughter starts school.

My son’s ex-wife is not stable and his daughter always cries when she has to go to her mom’s. Is there anything that can be presented to the judge to prove that his daughter will not have a stable life with the constant shuttling back and forth long distances to a house she doesn’t want to go to?


While I am not licensed to practice in your jurisdiction, I can provide you with some general divorce help for men regarding the issues you present in your question.

In general, if a custodial arrangement is having an adverse affect on a child, then a party can petition the court to modify the custody order. Typically, to succeed in a petition for modification of custody, it is necessary to show that there has been a material change in circumstances affecting the child, and that a modification of the terms of the present order is in the child’s best interests.

This can be accomplished by proving to the court that the present child custody agreements adversely affect the child, and that the proposed modification is in the child’s best interests.

Regarding the facts in your question, you mention that the child is a toddler, and that the visitation schedule now provides for the child to spend alternating one week periods with the parents. You also mention that the parents live nearly 200 miles from one another.

In practical terms, this parenting time schedule will not work when the child begins attending school. The court is likely going to award primary physical custody to one parent or the other.

I recommend that the father (referenced in your question) meet with a local attorney to determine the likelihood that he could succeed in regaining primary custody of his daughter when she begins attending school.

An advantageous time to file for such a modification would be several months prior to the child’s scheduled commencement of entering school on a full-time basis.

To schedule an appointment with a Cordell & Cordell mens divorce lawyer, including Kevin Mammola, an attorney in the Atlanta, Georgia office of Cordell & Cordell, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

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