Family law judges in Mississippi consider the facts of a child custody dispute carefully before making their decisions, and they understand that one of the parties involved is likely to be leaving the courtroom unhappy. These decisions are made based on what the judge believes to be in the child’s best interests, but they may be modified in certain situations. Efforts to modify child custody orders are usually made by noncustodial parents.
Modifying child custody orders in Mississippi
In order to modify a child custody order in Mississippi, the noncustodial parent must establish two things. They must first show that the circumstances in the custodial parent’s home have materially changed in a way that adversely affects the child. They must then convince the judge that modifying the child custody order would be in the best interests of the child.
Situations where custody orders may be modified
Judges are generally reluctant to modify child custody orders unless changing circumstances place a child in some sort of jeopardy, and they are unlikely to be swayed simply because the child says that they would prefer to live with their noncustodial parent. Petitions to modify child custody orders are most commonly granted when custodial parents have developed drug or alcohol problems, been diagnosed with a medical condition that would make it impossible for them to provide adequate care or plan to move to an area that would disrupt the child’s schooling and make visitation impossible.
Resolving custody disputes amicably
Experienced family law attorneys would likely advise clients to make every effort to reach an amicable child custody and visitation agreement. If traditional negotiations are unproductive, attorneys could suggest mediation as an alternative to court. When parents are able to come to terms, attorneys could present the court with a joint petition to modify child custody arrangements.