Do you need a custody modification as your child becomes a teen?

On Behalf of | May 4, 2024 | Family Law |

As children grow into teenagers, their needs and circumstances change significantly. These changes often lead parents to wonder if they should seek modifications to existing custody arrangements.

Adjusting custody as your child becomes a teenager can ensure that the arrangement continues to serve their best interests.

Challenges teens face

Teenagers face different challenges and opportunities compared to younger children. They may have new educational needs, social lives and activities that require a different schedule. Moreover, as teenagers develop their own identities, their preferences for where and with whom they want to live might change. Recognizing these shifts helps you provide the stability and support that teenagers need during this pivotal stage of their development.

Impact of a teenager’s preference

Many jurisdictions consider a child’s preference when making custody decisions, especially as the child grows older. Teenagers are often more vocal about their desires to live with a particular parent, whether due to school locations, social connections or the emotional bonds they share with one parent over the other. Judges typically give considerable weight to these preferences if they believe the teenager is mature enough to make an informed decision.

Evaluation of the current custody arrangement

Before pursuing a modification, it is important to evaluate how well the current custody arrangement serves your teenager’s needs. Are they performing well in school? Do they have sufficient time with both parents? How are their emotional and psychological states? Answers to these questions can guide whether a custody modification is necessary.

Steps to modify custody

To begin the process, one should consult with a family law attorney who understands the specifics of the current custody agreement. The next step usually involves filing a petition for modification with the court that initially granted custody. The petition should detail the changes in circumstances that justify a revision of the custody terms.

Modifying custody arrangements is not a decision to take lightly. If the current arrangement no longer aligns with what is best for the teenager, seeking a modification could be the right step forward. This ensures that the custody arrangement adapts to the teenager’s changing life, providing them with the necessary support to thrive during their formative years.

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