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Do you want to take over the physical custody of your child?

Perhaps your former spouse has physical custody of your son, Tom, in compliance with the terms of your divorce agreement. Tom is now 12 years old.

The other parent has developed health problems, and as a result, you want to take over the physical custody of your son. To begin with, this will mean a change in Tom’s primary residence. How will the court view your request?

Preparing a motion

You and the other parent may make simple adjustments to your parenting plan, such as changes in days or times for visitation, without a judge's approval. However, a major change to the child custody arrangement, such as your desire to assume physical custody of your son, requires petitioning the court. Your attorney can assist you with filing a motion in the same circuit court where you originally entered your parenting plan.

The court will have questions

If the other parent agrees that a change in your child's physical custody is a good idea, it will be much easier for you to gain the court's approval. However, if the other parent does not want to give up physical custody, you will have to present evidence proving the change's necessity. 

Because it is doubtful that you have access to any medical records, your evidence may include emails or text messages from the other parent confirming the health problem that triggered your physical custody request. The court will base its decision to approve or disapprove modification of the child custody agreement on specific information, not just either parent's wishes.

Filling out forms

Rely on legal guidance in preparation to file various forms, including the Motion to Modify Child Custody, a revised Parenting Plan, an Income and Expense Statement and a Property and Debt Statement. Keep in mind that a formal pleading must bear the notarized signatures of both parents. While your request to assume physical custody of your son is not an easy one to present to the court, you can achieve your objective with proper evidence and sound reasoning and by demonstrating that it would be in Tom’s best interests.

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