Custody & Modification Question

Posted by Thomas MallonMay 05, 20150 Comments

Jasmine from Baltimore, MD writes:

My 5 yr old son's father filed to modify custody and is claiming I am not providing financially for him, that I allow my mother to make parental decisions as far as his visitation goes, and that we are alienating him. My son and I live with my parents and they do provide financially for us, we do co-sleep but it's never been a problem for my son. I am not currently employed because I have been a stay at home parent. Could I lose primary custody because I live with my family?


The fact that your son's father has filed to modify custody means that it is his initial burden to prove there has been a material change in circumstances and then if the court finds that there has been a material change in circumstances, the court will next consider what is in the minor child's best interest. The fact that your parents provide financial support is not really a determining factor, but because there are about a dozen the court look at, it is still possible to lose custody of your son. If your son's father convinces the court there has been a material change, you must ask what are the other reasons he might get custody.

The factors the court will consider are:

a Fitness of the parents

b Character and reputation of the parties

c Desire of the natural parents and consent agreements if any

d Potential for maintaining natural family relations

e Preference of the child when of sufficient age and capacity to form rational judgment

f Any material opportunities affecting the future life of the child

g Age, health and sex of the child

h Suitability of the residences of the parents and whether or not the non-custodial parent will have adequate opportunity for visitation

I How long the child has been separated from a natural parent who is seeking custody

j The effect of prior voluntary abandonment or surrender of custody of the child

k Best interest of the child

These factors are further explained in the case Taylor v. Taylor

a Willingness of each parent to share custody

b Psychological and physical fitness of each parent

c Strength of the relationship of child with each parent

d Potential disruption of shared physical custody upon child's social and school life

e Geographic proximity of parent's homes

f Demands of parental employment

g Age and number of children involved

h Sincerity (motivation) of parent's requests

I Financial Status of the parents

j Impact on state and federal assistance

k Benefit to parents

l Other Factors

These are the factors you need to focus on for your upcoming hearing.