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Child's fears lead to modification of child custody agreement

Most of the time, when a family court judge is weighing the best interests of a child, he or she is also considering what each parent may desire as far as time with their offspring. While the parents may or may not be able to arrive at a mutually satisfactory decision on their own, the court-ordered child custody agreement is meant to ensure that the minor's needs are protected in the best manner possible. Kentucky parents who are concerned that their current arrangements are no longer suitable may need to petition for a modification.

Recently, a family court judge made the determination that a prior custody plan that provided for joint legal custody was no longer suitable for one child's needs. The parents had married in 2006 and were divorced by 2009. The custody plan for their then-toddler awarded physical custody to the mother while both parents shared in the legal custody. The father of the child is of the Muslim faith while the formerly Christian mother had converted for the sake of her new spouse.

After the divorce, the mother reverted to her Christian faith. The parents' custody plan did not specify with which religion the child would be raised; therefore, both parents taught her the tenets of their individual beliefs. Over time, the child reported concerns to her mother and school officials that her father was pressuring her to practice the Muslim faith exclusively or he would move with her to his native country.

The mother sought to relieve her daughter's fears by seeking sole legal custody. After the hearing, the judge ruled that the situation merited a change in the original child custody orders and granted sole legal custody to the mother. In this case, the age of the daughter did allow her to express an opinion that the court took into consideration. Kentucky parents who believe that their custody orders need to be modified based on a change in circumstances can seek information concerning appropriate modifications from an experienced family law attorney.

Source: reason.com, "Child Custody, Religion, and Children's Reactions to a Parent's Religious Demands", Eugene Volokh, Feb. 15, 2018

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Tasha Scott Schaffner, PLLC - Attorneys at law

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