Using Living Conditions As Evidence Of Custody Modification

child custody modificationQuestion:

I am worried about my children’s living conditions when they are with my ex-wife, and I would like to know if a child custody modification is justified.

I keep a very clean home and provide a stable environment for my children, which they do not receive when staying with my ex-wife.

How can I get my kids’ living conditions inspected and have it officially recorded to present as evidence during a possible child custody modification trial?

Answer:

I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Georgia divorce and child custody laws where I am licensed to practice.

First, anyone who has a legitimate concern for the safety and welfare of any child(ren) has the option of calling your state’s Department of Family and Child Services. The Department will assess the claims and if necessary take the appropriate steps for investigating and rectifying the situation.

Regarding seeking custody of the children, it is always within the judge’s authority to determine custody of a minor child and the judge shall determine what type of custody/visitation arrangement is in the child’s best interest.

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Child Custody Modification Factors

For example, where I practice, statutory factors the judge may take into account when making a child custody determination include:

A. The love, affection, bonding, and emotional ties existing between each parent and the child;

B. The love, affection, bonding, and emotional ties existing between the child and his or her siblings, half siblings, and stepsiblings and the residence of such other children;

C. The capacity and disposition of each parent to give the child love, affection, and guidance and to continue the education and rearing of the child;

D. Each parent’s knowledge and familiarity of the child and the child’s needs;

E. The capacity and disposition of each parent to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, day-to-day needs, and other necessary basic care, with consideration made for the potential payment of child support by the other parent;

F. The home environment of each parent considering the promotion of nurturance and safety of the child rather than superficial or material factors;

G. The importance of continuity in the child’s life and the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity;

H. The stability of the family unit of each of the parents and the presence or absence of each parent’s support systems within the community to benefit the child;

I. The mental and physical health of each parent;

J. Each parent’s involvement, or lack thereof, in the child’s educational, social, and extracurricular activities;

K. Each parent’s employment schedule and the related flexibility or limitations, if any, of a parent to care for the child;

L. The home, school, and community record and history of the child, as well as any health or educational special needs of the child;

M. Each parent’s past performance and relative abilities for future performance of parenting responsibilities;

N. The willingness and ability of each of the parents to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent, consistent with the best interest of the child;

O. Any recommendation by a court appointed custody evaluator or guardian ad litem;

P. Any evidence of family violence or sexual, mental, or physical child abuse or criminal history of either parent; and

Q. Any evidence of substance abuse by either parent.

It is important to note, however, that a parent who “wins” on more factors is not necessarily entitled to custody. For example, a parent’s role as primary caretaker is often the determining factor. A primary caretaker, however, can lose custody to a parent with better parenting skills and a more stable home environment.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with divorce lawyers for men in your jurisdiction.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Atlanta, Georgia Divorce Lawyer Amber R. Piotrowicz, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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4 comments on “Using Living Conditions As Evidence Of Custody Modification

    My ex wife is now the custodial parent of my two children and she moved in with a man who has been in trouble for domestic violence from beating on his ex wife more than once and he is now beating on my ex wife in front of my children..my daughter cries for me daily and my ex wife doesnt allow me to talk to my kids nor see them despite our court orders..im scared he is gonna hurt my kids along with her..i have seen her black eyes.i have sent a few welfare checks but they dont answer. Is there any advice you can give me.im scared for my kids and i dont know what to do because i cant afford an attorny.

    What if the parent states he is living one place when he has the child, such as an ex girlfriends house, and then another place when he doesn’t have the child in his custody because the individual he lives with when he doesn’t have the child is a convicted felon? Is that an arguement in court? What if the ex girlfriends tells him he can no longer stay their when he has the child because she has a new boyfriend. Now the child is visiting her father at a convicted felon’s house where the convicted felonies are for drugs and violence, as well as order of protections served against him. Does this constitute as an unstable living environment?

    Sometimes it comes down to what your definition of clean is vs hers. Is her home cluttered but still relatively clean? Is there animal urine or feces all over the floors? Is there areas of the home that is obstructed by junk therefore the area cannot be used? Used diapers on the floor? Used sanitary napkins in the middle of the floor? If it’s horrific enough you can contact CPS and they can explain to you what they consider unfit. Just a heads up though, it would have to be insanely horrific for them to be removed from her care. A dirty countertop or two or disorganized plies here and there is not enough. Let’s say her room she sleeps in may be a mess but the kids living areas are semi clean, that would not be enough for major concern. If the twins are coming over smelling and looking like they rolled in pure filth and does not have clean clothes on and it’s evident their health is declining because of their environment you definitely have a case and I would urge you to call CPS. The tv show hoarders is also a good reference on the type of homes kids get removed from. But FYI, CPS will usually give a time frame to get the home back up to their code. If the mother does not comply that is when they will usually take action to remove the children. 9 times out of 10 excessive filth in homes is due to deep depression, high stress levels, or even a symptom of ADD. Maybe sit down with her and share your concerns instead of writing her off as unfit and find out if she is willing to get some sort of treatment. If there are other adults in the home speak with them as well. Mental illness is called an illness for a reason, when it strikes the person afflicted may not know how unhealthy their environment truly is. I speak from experience. Everyone is broken in some way and we must have compassion with each other.

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