Child Custody & Parenting

Marriage and Custody: What are the implications?

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How does an upcoming wedding impact the custody of your children?

If you are planning the wedding, you may be contemplating whether you may change a prior child custody order entered into with the other parent to your child.   The new marriage may result in you moving out of your child’s school district or may change your ability to ensure the child follows through with his/her daily routine.  The court’s goals are to eradicate a barrier against removal of a child from an established custodial environment and to minimize unwarranted and disruptive changes of custody orders.

To change custody, one must demonstrate that since the entry of the last custody order, the conditions surrounding custody of a child, which have or could have a significant effect on such child’s well-being, have materially changed. It is not enough for a party seeking a change in custody to merely present evidence of normal life changes; rather, the evidence adduced by the movant must demonstrate something more than the normal life changes (both good and bad) that occur during the life of a child, and there must be at least some evidence that material changes have had or will almost certainly have an effect on such child.

A child’s living preference is generally insufficient to grant a change of custody.  A new marriage is also a normal life change that will not likely result in a change of custody of a minor child. There are modifications that can be made to parenting time that ultimately does not change the custody of the child.  If you and your child’s other parent cannot agree to those changes, the court will have to review the matter.

If you and your child’s other parent cannot agree upon the school district for your child will attend or the extracurricular activities for which the child will be engaged, you again will also have to ask the court determine what is in the best interest of the child.  Ultimately, it is always in the best interest of your child to decide these matters as parents.  After all, you have spent the most time with your child so you should know what is in his/her best interest.