If there is one constant in life, it is that change happens. As such, you may need to modify a child custody agreement to ensure it makes sense as your child’s needs change. You might also need to make a modification due to another reason, such as relocating. In Oklahoma, you can modify an existing child custody order due to a permanent and material change in circumstances. Today, we review how to modify a child custody order in Oklahoma and what you need to know about filing a Motion to Modify Custody Order.
Do Both Parents Need to Agree to the Modification?
In Oklahoma, a child custody order may be modified whether both parents agree to the change or not.
Steps to Take to Modify an Existing Child Custody Order
You and your co-parent can adjust your child custody order if you both agree to these changes. With the help of your lawyers, you can avoid going to court to do so. However, in the event one parent objects to the request to modify an existing custody order, you will both need to go to court.
To modify a custody order you will need to file a Motion to Modify Custody Order with the same court where the initial custody order was issued. You will need to state why you want the modification and must show what you deem your permanent and material change in circumstance is for the court to consider your request.
After you have filed this motion, a hearing will be set so each parent can provide evidence and present their arguments. It is advisable to consult with a lawyer to ensure your interests are represented and your rights are protected throughout this process.
If the court finds that there are sufficient grounds for a modification, this change will be awarded. It would be helpful before going to court to speak with your attorney to ensure that your request is substantial enough to warrant such a change as the process to modify custody does take time.
Modifying a Sole or Joint Custody Order
The court will look for evidence that demonstrates why a change in sole custody would be in the child’s best interest. To modify a joint custody order, either parent must show that he/she cannot collaborate with the child’s other parent. As such, they must show that it would be in the best interest of the child to award sole custody instead.
What Is Considered a Material Change in Circumstance?
It is up to the court’s discretion to decide if the reason you are asking for a child custody modification is significant enough to allow such as change. You will need to show that there has been a permanent, material, and substantial enough change to affect the best interests of your child to warrant this. Some examples of a material change in circumstances my include but are not limited to the following:
- Difficulties with the current custody or parenting plan
- Change in the physical or mental health of one parent
- Deliberate act by either parent to prevent one another from seeing the child
- Change in the parents’ relationship with each other
- Financial issues
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Relocation or change in the type of living environment one parent can provide
- Current custody agreement does not fit the child’s needs