During divorce proceedings for parents in Massachusetts, a judge typically makes a decision regarding child custody. However, if at some point after the divorce is final one or both of the parents want to change the decision, they need to go through the proper channels to request a modification.
According to the General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the court determines sole or joint custody based on the best interest of the child. Some considerations for this include the child's relationship with each parent, the ability of each parent to provide for the child, the mental and physical health of the parents, the proposed living situation and the age of the child. However, after the initial decision, situations may change for one or the other parent. For example, one's income may change, or work schedules may interfere with custody time. When this occurs, either parent, or a third party on behalf of the child, may request a modification to the original custody plan.
According to FindLaw, if only one parent is requesting a change, he or she must serve the other regarding the court hearing date. The requesting parent must present evidence that supports a modification. This may be due to the child's best interest or another substantial reason, such as:
- Relocation of a parent
- Job or work schedule change
- Evidence of domestic violence
- Addiction to drugs or alcohol, or evidence of sobriety
When the person presents the request, he or she must include a number of things. One is the reason for the request, another is to describe how the change is currently affecting the child and there must also be a suggestion as to what the court should decide.