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What are grounds for child custody modification in Massachussetts?

Ending a marriage is a stressful and intimidating process, perhaps especially when kids are involved. As a parent, you consider the well-being of your children to be of the utmost importance, and your top priority is undoubtedly to pursue a child custody agreement that keeps their best interests at heart.

Sometimes, though, even the most thoughtful child custody arrangements must be changed when unexpected life events occur. If this is your situation, it is crucial that you understand the legal grounds for a child custody modification, as well as the legal process for modifying the arrangement. Not taking the proper legal steps to obtain court approval could be detrimental for all parties involved.

Possible Grounds for Modification

In any request for child custody modification, the courts in Massachusetts will always prioritize what is in the child's best interests. In other words, what is good for the individual parent may not necessarily be good for the kids, and the court will weigh the well-being of the children more heavily than the parents' personal wishes. Following are common scenarios that may warrant modification of a child custody order:

  • Relocation: Certain events in a parent's life, such as a change in employment, can prompt a need or desire for parental relocation. Such a move by either parent could strain the current parenting plan, and adjustments may be necessary.
  • Best interests: In some cases, a change to the child custody agreement is simply in the best interests of the kids. As children grow, their schedules and needs may alter dramatically, and this may require revisiting the terms of the original arrangement.
  • Safety of kids: Courts generally consider the safety of the kids to be a top priority, and if the current plan proves harmful to them in any way, there are likely grounds to modify the current arrangement.
  • Denial of rights: If one parent fails to adhere to or refuses to comply with the custody order, the other parent may choose to go to the court and request that changes be made.

The death of a parent or guardian may also warrant child custody modification. However, even when pursuing modifications for straightforward reasons, the process can be complex. In any case, it is a good idea to have legal guidance.

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