A Two-Part Test To Determine A Change In Custody

sole custodyQuestion:

How do courts decide if a change in custody is warranted?


While I am not licensed to practice law in your state and am unable to give you legal advice, I can give you some general observations on this issue based on the jurisdiction where I practice.

Where I do practice in Virginia, the courts employ a two-part test whether or not a change in custody is warranted. First you must show a change in circumstances and second you must show that any change in custody would be in the best interest of the child.

A change in circumstances can be that one parent now has more children or that the children that were subject to the custody order now have different needs. Once the court finds that a change in circumstances exists, it will then move to the second part of the test, best interest of the child.

The best interest of the child standard is generally where custody cases are won or loss. This is a very fact-specific, nuanced argument. It is an important distinction to remember that the test is based on the best interest of the child, not the best interest of the parent or family.

All issues regarding child custody, especially when requesting a change in custody, are extremely fact-specific and require a specialized knowledge of local law. For these reasons I would suggest you contact an attorney who specializes in family law matters in your jurisdiction.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than tips on visitation matters, so please contact an attorney in your jurisdiction to obtain specific advice as to the laws of your state and how they impact your case.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss child custody rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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2 comments on “A Two-Part Test To Determine A Change In Custody

    I have a case that has been decided in the mothers favor. This was decided after all the false charges brought on me were dismissed, i showed proof that the mother was the abusive party, the mother had been caught lying several times, mother had been careless with visits in most cases no or very little notice of a couple hours was given, mother continually keeps our child from me and the first time I was allowed to see my daughter was over a year later and was ordered to be supervised. After the custody trial, a court order was made that I was to have 4 hours with my daughter every week, yet again, I have not seen my daughter since long before trial. To this day I haven’t seen her, yet the court has made no attempt to enforce their decision. I have sent several emails to all parties and have gotten no result whatsoever. I’ve made hundreds of phone calls to every one I can think of. And I’m out of ideas. What does a father do?

    If I could do it over again I’d have found support groups like this one and the Fatherhood Educational Institute earlier. It is so important to have a support network and as a guy I’m not that good at findings that support. My family did not really support me emotionally thought they tried and it’s hard to find ideas and strategize with men who have not been through the process. I read Father’s Rights and Divorce Wars and every other book I could get my hands on. The more information you can find the better. I wish I would have known all this before and I think things would have worked out better than they did. They worked out ok but things could be better.

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