When a couple divorces or splits up, custody of a child is normally given to one parent, and the child usually lives with this parent. The determination of custody is made with the best interest of the child in mind, and although custody can be changed, it will not be done so unless the change is also made with the child's best interests being the reason for making the change.
Although it is not common for changes of custody to take place, there are several circumstances where a change may be possible. These include if the non-custodial parent believes the child is in danger while living with the custodial parent, if the custodial parent refuses to follow a visitation schedule or if one or both of the parents move to a distant location.
While the conditions for changing custody if a child is in danger are fairly straightforward, if a parent moves there are several things that the court may consider. Along with the reasons for a parent's move, other factors that will be considered are if the move will affect the visitation schedule and how much a child's life will be changed by the move.
Issues like visitation, child support and child custody are normally determined during a divorce. These issues can be ironed out during a collaborative divorce or a litigated divorce. Collaborative divorces involve a couple working together to come to mutually agreeable decisions about issues related to the divorce. If this is not possible, issues will be determined by a judge based on legal guidelines. A lawyer could explain the difference between the two types of divorce and the pros and cons associated with each.