Child packing to move. This is the next post in our How to Change Child Custody in Virginia series. Our last post discussed what occurs during the evidentiary hearing of a custody modification matter. In this post I will discuss how a custodial parent can defend the status quo from a parent who has filed for a child custody modification.

Virginia parents defending a request to change child custody must provide evidence against false attacks from the non-custodial parent

Many times two parents can agree to modify a custody agreement without having to go to court. When parents share custody, or are able to co-parent successfully, they are often able to work out schedule changes without a great deal of interference. Unfortunately, when parties cannot agree on things, a custodial parent will sometimes have to go to court in order to defend against the other parent’s modification request. This typically occurs when a significant issue has arisen and no common ground can be found.

One tactic that non-custodial parents may use to justify a custody modification is to make false or damaging allegations against the custodial parent. Allegations of substance abuse, lack of supervision, poor parenting skills, physical abuse, or a deteriorated relationship with the child may all be reasons cited as a change in circumstance. The good news is that the burden of proving the allegations will be on the accuser. If you are a custodial parent who is being falsely attacked then the first step is to contact a child custody attorney and explain the situation. Your attorney will request all evidence that the other party has in regards to their allegations. If you are unaware of what evidence the other parent will use then your lawyer can acquire all evidence the other side claims to have during the discovery process. Once your attorney has a better understanding of what basis the other side is using to justify a modification request then they will be able to counsel you accordingly. If the allegations are baseless, then there is a good chance that your lawyer will be able to have the modification request dismissed without the need for an evidentiary hearing.

Defending against a child relocation request in Virginia

There are times in which two parents share custody and one parent is transferred outside of Virginia for work. In these circumstances, the moving parent may request a custody modification so that they may move with the child. Child relocation requests are different from a simple modification request in that it is much more difficult to win approval for relocation. Virginia law requires a relocating parent to prove that a move will be in the best interest of a child; if two parents share custody then it is often difficult to prove that a child will benefit from being taken away from her environment and her parent. In these cases, again, the burden of proof is on the parent who is requesting a relocation. The parent opposing a relocation request is given the opportunity to argue that such a change would create irreparable damage to the parent-child relationship.

If your child’s parent is attempting to file for a child modification then know that you have several options. Contact our office today for a free consultation.