Your relationship with your children is precious. If you’re like most people, then you’d do just about anything to keep your children safe, which may not be the easiest thing to do when your children spends time with their other parent. If you have legitimate concerns about your children’s well-being when in the care of their other parent, then you’ll need to carefully consider how to approach the matter, whether you’re looking to establish an initial order for custody or a modification of a current custody or visitation order that limits the other parent’s time with the children.
The first step is to clearly articulate why your proposed custody and visitation plan is necessary. Remember, you’ll have to show how it supports your child’s best interests, which is the standard that the court will use to decide the matter. To begin this process, consider what specific issues are negatively affecting your child. Below are some of the most considerable.
- Parental substance abuse: A child’s exposure to parental substance abuse can leave them in a vulnerable position. While it can increase their risk of being abused or neglected, it can also leave them in a caretaking role when the parent fails to fulfill those responsibilities. This stress can lead to anxiety, depression, and fear. They may also be embarrassed and ashamed, which can bleed into their social life. It goes without saying that this exposure doesn’t support your child’s best interests.
- Domestic violence: Exposure to domestic violence can be traumatic for a child. As a result, a child who is exposed to domestic violence may develop anxiety, depression, and fear, and younger children’s behavior may regress. Older children who are exposed to violence may engage in risky behaviors that can jeopardize their safety and their future, including alcohol and substance abuse, violent acts, and criminality. These children can struggle to build and maintain healthy relationships, too. They also are often at an increased risk of becoming abusers themselves in the future.
- Educational neglect: Your child’s education is of critical importance. It can dictate their future, foster their social skills, and provide them with intellectual and physical outlets. Yet, when children consistently miss school or show up late, their growth can be stunted.
These are just three of the many issues that can justify a child custody or visitation modification. Other issues may include financial instability, emotional and verbal abuse, and parental relocation. Any one of these issues can wreak havoc on your child’s life, leaving you trying to fix something you have no legal control over.
We understand just how stressful these matters can be. After all, they can have a tremendous impact on you, your child, and your relationship with your child. With so much at stake, you can’t leave anything to chance. Instead, you need to be prepared to fight for what you believe is right for your child. The good news is that you don’t have to go at it alone. Skilled family law professionals stand ready to help you every step of the way by gathering evidence, developing strong legal arguments based on the facts and applicable law, and persuasively presenting the case both at the negotiation table and in the courtroom.