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Is it possible to modify a custody arrangement?

Parents have the right to petition Hawaii family courts to adjust court orders established during their divorce. For example, one parent can ask for a modification of their child support payments if they lose their job and income.

It is also possible to revise a custody arrangement. However, there are specific circumstances and factors necessary to make this kind of modification.

The child's best interests are still a crucial factor

No matter what, all custody matters still depend on what is in the best interest of the child. So, if a custody modification will significantly impact a child's current situation, the court may oppose the request.

There are two strategies for modification

After an amicable divorce, parents could petition for a modification together. Both parents create a stipulated agreement that outlines the details of the new custody arrangement.

However, if one parent does not agree, then the other parent must bring their case to the family court. To obtain a modified arrangement, they must prove that:

  • The adjustment would be in their child's best interest
  • Their physical or financial circumstances have changed significantly

Common reasons parents modify custody

The most common reason that parents seek to revise their custody arrangement is to spend more time with their children.

Parents can also request an adjustment if they are moving. Relocating the child requires court approval, since it impacts both the child and the other parent's visitation and custody rights. Therefore, a modification to the current arrangement is essential.

Sometimes changes are necessary

Custody modifications are not always for positive reasons. If one parent disregards the visitation schedule consistently or fails to uphold the duties outlined in the parenting plan, then the other parent could petition the court to change the arrangement.

A parent can also request a modification of a custody order if they believe their child is at risk. Behaviors that put a child in danger include:

  • Domestic abuse
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Child neglect

Family courts take custody situations very seriously. Making modifications can be a long process, regardless of the reason for the modification. There might be lengthy hearings and negotiations to reach a new agreement. So, understanding the aspects of a custody modification can help parents determine what choice suits their family.

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