Life Changes That Could Impact Child Custody

Dealing with divorce is never easy and having children makes it more difficult. Divorced parents often have difficulties agreeing on child custody and visitation rights. Even if a child custody agreement is reached, it does not mean that the terms of the agreement can't change. There are a number of common events in life that can lead to the change in a child custody agreement. 

Changes in Schedules

If the father has weekend visitation rights but has obtained a new position of employment that requires him to work during the weekends, then those visitation rights can be changed to accommodate the father’s schedule. This, of course, is just an example of how scheduling conflicts can necessitate change in visitation rights. If the father and the mother are able to agree on the changes in the structure of the visitation schedule and the changes aren’t drastic, then the court will more than likely approve the changes as soon as they are submitted. For example, the days of the week that visitation will occur, the times of the visitation period or the locations at which the child will be picked up or dropped off are all doable changes. If the parents cannot agree on the changes, then the court will have to intervene and a decision will be made based on the best interests of the child.

Entering A New Marriage

This kind of lifestyle change can be difficult for everyone involved. If the father is remarried, then it’s the child that has to do the most in order to adjust. Making sure that the child has a sense of normalcy is important.

  • Odds are visitation rights will not be changed if both parents are remarried.

  • The only way that the child custody agreement might be in question is if the non-custodial parent feels that entering a new marriage will provide the child with a more stable place to grow up. If that is the case, then that parent will have to prove the current environment with the custodial parent is unstable, unhealthy or dangerous.

  • As far as how child support payments will be handled, it will not be affected by the additional income that the stepparent may have. Child support payments are only based on the income of the biological parents.

Lack Of Financial Stability

A lack of money makes it difficult for a custodial parent to care for the child, and the court may find that the parent with the stable income will be able to provide the child with a better environment to grow up in. This kind of challenge usually only happens if the non-custodial parent has suddenly obtained gainful employment and/or the custodial parent has lost his or her job and is struggling to support the child.

  • A father that has a good and stable income that supports the child even though he is not the primary custodial parent may challenge the child custody agreement.

  • If the mother does not have a regular income or has been without stable income for a substantially long time and is the custodial parent, then the father can also challenge the child custody agreement.

Obtaining New Employment

Obtaining new employment may affect child support payments. Fathers that are non-custodial parents will have to pay child support to help pay for the child’s necessities. The amount of child support a parent will pay depends on their income, meaning that if the paying parent obtains a higher paying job, the amount they have to pay in child support will increase. If the father loses his job or obtains a lower paying job, then the amount of child support he has to pay decreases.


Sometimes, one of the child’s parents will have the opportunity to move out of state – often due to employment.

  • Custodial parents who move out of state without the knowledge or permission of the non-custodial parent or the court can face serious consequences.

  • Fathers who do not have custody of their child can have peace of mind by knowing that the mother cannot simply move out of Florida without a petition signed by both parents, which must have a valid reason for relocating.

  • If a non-custodial parent is relocating, than that parent will have to have their child custody agreement modified to include long distance visitation – although out of state visitation is usually not permitted until the child is at least six years old.

  • The duration of the visit and the amount of visits is dependent on a variety of factors, including the age of the child, the child’s relationship with other relatives and the child’s preference.

Health Problems

The courts won’t punish a custodial parent for being stricken by a disease or ailment by taking away the custody of their child. However, the court does have the right to do this – especially if they think that the custodial parent is no longer healthy enough to properly look after the child. If the father believes the mother can no longer take care of the child due to health issues, he should first try to come to an agreement with her before taking the issue to the court.

These are just a few of the life-changing events that a father can experience that may require the adjustment of their child custody agreement. Fathers who are in need of advice concerning divorce, child custody or any other family law-related matter should be sure to contact Kenny Leigh & Associates.

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