In today’s economy life circumstances often change after the terms of your divorce have been finalized. This could occur as a result of a change in employment such as the loss of your job, a reduction of hours, a lay off, a substantial decrease in income or having to relocate and move your family. This substantial change of circumstances could allow you to modify your original support order, custody order or parenting time schedule. Modifications of child custody are addressed below. Contact us at (503) 223-8441 if you have have modification issue.
Modifying Child Custody After Your Divorce
A modification of child custody requires the court to find a substantial change in circumstances in the parenting arrangement since the original custody determination. The court must also find that a modification of the custodial situation is in the best interest of the children.
The factors that must be considered by the court in determining the best interest of the children are set forth in the Oregon Revised Statutes as well as a significant body of case law.
As a general rule modifications of sole custody are based upon health, safety and welfare issues of the child, or if the court finds that the child is in danger while in the custody of the parent who was granted custody in the original judgment. This would include significant drug and alcohol problems, abuse or other issues that address the fitness of the parent.
Joint custody may be modified if the parties find it impossible to agree on decision-making or other major decisions relating to the children. The refusal to cooperate or the fact that at least one parent is unwilling to, or incapable of, continuing the joint custodial relationship constitutes a substantial change of circumstances, potentially warranting a modification of custody.
It is important to note that as children grow older, their choices regarding which parent the child prefers to live with will be given more weight by the Court.