Child custody agreements are a standard part of the divorce process for parents of minor children.
When the court imposes a custody order, it expects family circumstances to change over time.
Common reasons to file for modification
Both custodial and non-custodial parents have the right to file for custody modification. Some common reasons to do so include:
- One parent died or moved away
- The child’s needs are no longer the same
- Either parent faces a change in economic circumstances
- Either parent remarries or has another child
- One parent fails to follow the original custody order
- The child has a step-parent with a history of abuse or a criminal record
Whoever files for modification is responsible for providing the judge with sufficient evidence to support their claim.
Evidence you need to support modification
Evidence can come in the form of written documentation of difficulties with either parent following the original custody order. If the reason for the request is that the parent needed to move or had a change in work, they can bring documents showing a new address or work schedule. Statements from relevant professionals, such as mental health experts or school teachers, can be useful as well.
When you can file for modification
In Wisconsin, the court will not accept a request for modification if it has been less than two years since the initial custody order unless the parent can prove a substantial change in circumstances, such as the child being in physical or emotional danger.
The best case scenario is for both parents to agree on the modification and ask the court to verify it.