When you share a custody arrangement with an ex, it is difficult to change the custody order unless there has been a material change in circumstances. If you have agreed to a child custody visitation schedule and filed the agreement in court, it is almost impossible to change your mind without a good reason. There may be a time when you begin to notice that your ex is showing signs of mental illness or a distortion with reality for an unknown reason. While this doesn't necessarily mean custody should change, it could mean that there needs to be further investigation into what is going on. Your children need to be safe in both homes, and court may be your only option.
Causes of Mental Status Changes
There could be a medical reason your ex has suddenly stopped remembering what time they are supposed to pick up the children. They may be struggling emotionally from the breakup, or they could be abusing substances that you are just becoming aware of. While some bickering is somewhat normal during the early stages of a divorce, mental status changes are more concerning. If you are getting hateful emails or text messages years after your divorce, this could mean an underlying mental health need that has to be addressed.
When the Children are In Danger
Danger can be difficult to determine. When you truly feel that your children are at risk when they are with your ex, child protective services should be called. You must have specific reasons why you believe your children are in danger. If you have witnesses events where your ex was publicly intoxicated, or your child is suddenly afraid to go with your ex, you have the right to contact child protective services to talk about your concerns.
Emergency Motion for Modification
Once you already have a custody agreement filed in court, you will need to file an emergency motion for a modification to the agreement if you are worried about your kids. You will have to state why this is an emergency, and what your concerns are. In your modification request, you will need to clarify what you want the judge to do to manage the situation.
If you are ever worried about your children when they are with your ex, talk to a professional that can help you. A child custody attorney will be able to discuss the merits of your concerns and work with you to file a modification if it is warranted.
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