Common Child Custody Issues After an Agreement Is Reached

March 30, 2021

By Jill K. Sanders, Esq.

Child custody cases can be complicated. Not only that, when custody is at issue, emotions are running high. As such, parents often are unable to come to an agreement about important factors related to custody. Even after an initial custody agreement has been ordered, issues come up that can lead to additional litigation. Here are common issues which come up after an initial child custody agreement has been reached.


Changes in a Parent’s Living Situation & Ability to Provide

Courts will consider a parent’s ability to provide for the children when determining what is appropriate. However, parents can lose jobs, have health issues, or have other problems that negatively affect their ability to care for their kids. Moreover, changes in a parent’s financial ability to provide can impact child custody. Similarly, if a parent’s living environment changes for the worse, this may also impact how a judge will view the situation.


A Parent Relocates or Remarries

Parent relocations is a common issue. Often, the issue with relocating is that visitation with the children may become difficult. For example, if a parent with shared custody wants to move from New York to California, how will the child custody agreement work out? For this reason, parent relocations often require litigation before that parent moves.

Similarly, if one parent remarries, this can change the dynamic of the child’s home environment. Courts will always consider the best interests of the child, and sometimes a parent may pick a new partner that could negatively impact the child. The new partner’s lifestyle, background, and habits may be considered by a judge.


Important Child-Rearing Decisions

Not every child-rearing decision can be anticipated at the beginning of a child custody agreement. When these issues come up, as they inevitably will, a judge may become involved if parents cannot come to a joint decision. For example, problems can come up when a child is having problems at school, health issues, or behavioral problems.


Disruptions in Visitation

One of the most common issues in child custody cases are visitation disruptions. Sometimes, this is intentional on the part of one of the parents. In other cases, this is a side-effect of other changes that have occurred in a parent’s life, such as a change in job or residence. Failing to abide by the visitation agreement can become a major issue among, requiring parents to go to court over and over again. This includes virtual visitation, such as phone and video calls. If a parent refuses to allow the child to speak with the other parent when the child is with him/her, this quickly becomes a major issue.


Domestic Violence & Criminal Charges

Above all, children need to be in safe environments. If a parent has become involved in incidents of domestic violence or other criminal charges, this can be a factor warranting a change in the custody agreement. Sometimes, even an allegation of wrong-doing can be enough to have a judge change the visitation and custody schedule. Notably, proof there’s been such an offense must be considered by the courts when brought to the court’s attention, as it specifically bears on a parent’s fitness to have custody of and visitation with a child.