Due to a divorce or separation, you only see your children according to the terms laid out in a child custody order. Maybe that order has worked relatively well for a while but doesn’t anymore. Maybe it is something you were never happy about, but you just haven’t been sure what you can do about it. The good news is, in South Dakota, it is possible to seek a custody modification.
If you wish to seek a custody adjustment, you’ll either have to work out a new agreement with your ex in private or through mediation, or file a petition in court. If you go to court, there are no guarantees that a judge will side with you. Generally, you need to show how the adjustment will be of benefit to your kids in order for a judge to alter the order. Unfortunately, not everyone who seeks an order adjustment will receive one.
How to seek an adjustment
For some parents in South Dakota, talking things out and writing up a new custody plan works without having to get the courts too heavily involved. If you are able to reach an agreement this way, you will have to file the new agreement for court approval before it officially becomes active. This way it is a legally binding agreement.
If talking things out proves ineffective, you may file an official modification petition. If you go this route, you and your ex will have to attend a hearing on the matter to present your case for the change. A judge will then get to decide if the requested adjustment will serve the best interests of your children.
When to seek an adjustment
As previously stated, not all custody modification requests will be honored. Here are a few reasons when it is appropriate to seek a custody adjustment:
- A parent needs to relocate
- The child is in danger
- Child’s wishes
- Other parent refusing to follow the order
- Death of parent
The whole thing is a matter of looking at the bigger picture. What living arrangements and visitation agreement would put the child in the best position to grow and thrive.
When wanting a child custody modification, you do not have to fight for it on your own. You can seek assistance whether you choose to negotiate new terms with your ex or file an official petition in court.