Chattanooga Child Custody Modification Lawyer

Modifying child custody can be extremely challenging. Judges generally only grant a parent’s request if a significant change has occurred since the most recent custody order was issued.

An experienced Chattanooga child custody modification lawyer could help determine whether a recent change in your circumstances is a sufficient basis for a modification. With the help of a committed child custody attorney, you can more effectively advocate your position in court and increase the chance of a successful outcome.

What Chattanooga Parents Must Prove to Modify Custody

Because state law favors stability for children after their parents separate or divorce, a parent must demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances before a court will consider a modification request.

While every case is unique, some examples of changed circumstances possibly warranting an alteration of child custody include:

  • The parents can no longer effectively communicate about their child, so one parent must have primary decision-making authority
  • A parent is incarcerated
  • A parent remarries, and the new spouse has a contentious relationship with the child
  • A parent abuses drugs or alcohol
  • A parent must relocate a significant distance away from the child’s current residence
  • The child ages and matures and desires a different custody schedule

If a parent meets the threshold burden of proving a substantial change in circumstances, a court must consider whether the proposed custody schedule is in the child’s best interests. An attorney experienced in child custody modification in Chattanooga could explain the substantial change in circumstances standard and what evidence a parent must present in court.

Establishing the Best Interest of the Child in Custody Modification Cases

Once a parent has demonstrated changed circumstances sufficient to convince the court that custody should be modified, a judge must assess whether the new custody schedule will meet the child’s needs.

To determine a child’s best interests, judges must consider numerous factors under Tennessee Code Annotated §36-6-106, including but not limited to:

  • The strength of the child’s relationship with each parent
  • Each parent’s present and potential future performance of parenting responsibilities
  • Each parent’s ability to facilitate a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and both parents
  • Which parent has historically taken greater parenting responsibilities
  • The child’s emotional needs and developmental level
  • Each parent’s moral, physical, mental, and emotional fitness

A skilled lawyer is well-versed in the best interests factors in Chattanooga child custody modification cases and could explain how a judge may apply them based on an individual’s circumstances.

Can A Child Determine a Custody Modification?

A judge may consider the wishes of a child aged 12 or older when making a final custody decision. The court will generally give greater weight to the desires of older children as long as they can articulate a sound basis for their preference. Additionally, when considering a child’s request, a judge will carefully scrutinize whether either parent influenced the child to state a preference that aligns with the parent’s preferred custodial arrangement.

Regardless of why a child desires a change in custody, their preference is only one factor in the court’s overall analysis. When deciding custody, a judge must still find that the child’s requested custody arrangement is in their best interests.

The prospect of stating their wishes in front of their parents and possibly hurting one parent’s feelings can be terrifying to a child. A capable attorney could request that the judge interview the child outside of the parent’s presence to ensure the child can reasonably state their opinion.

Contact a Dedicated Chattanooga Child Custody Modification Attorney Today

Child custody orders are generally intended to be permanent and provide long-lasting stability for a child. However, modifications may be necessary to ensure that a custody arrangement reflects a child’s current circumstances.

If you or your child experience a significant life change, a capable Chattanooga child custody modification lawyer can petition to revise custody. Contact one of our firm’s diligent attorneys today to learn more about your legal options and rights.

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