Oftentimes circumstance requires us to change ongoing agreements. For circumstances either under or out of our control we are required to make adjustments to decisions, even if decisions involve more than just ourselves.
Can child custody agreements be changed without going to court? Changes to lawfully imposed agreements are commonplace in South Africa, changes can be made in front of a judge if so desired. Child custody agreements are often changed by a child’s/children’s parents and guardians. These changes can be both all-encompassing or small adjustments.
Changes can be made in much the same way that child custody settlement agreements are made. Parents and/or guardians can reach an out-of-court agreement that is adjudicated by attorneys and lawyers that are able to submit the changes to the court. Again, decisions are made in the best interest of the child. If the changes affect the child negatively then such changes will not be accepted by the South African Family Court. It is important to keep in mind that the court is unlikely to agree to the change of residency from one guardian to another without sufficient reason to do so.
An example of an out-of-court agreement could be that of an adjustment to visitation rights. A father, whose very young child stays in Johannesburg with his mother, works in Durban and requires supervision when visiting with the infant because he is unfamiliar with the routine of looking after a baby. However, after some time, he starts to live and work in Johannesburg, and both parents agree that he should be allowed reasonable contact with the youngster. An attorney can draft a change that will be accepted by the family court judge.
Unfortunately, there are times when one or both guardians/parents want to enforce contradictory changes. When this happens the process is much like an overall settlement agreement within court. Through the assistance of attorneys, disputed changes and amendments are filed with the court before a hearing takes place. Remember that a judge will likely place his/her decision within the best interests of the child.
An example of a disputed change can be when one parent or guardian or associate of the child believes that the child’s guardian or contact is no longer fit to uphold the current arrangements. A young child’s father, who has visitation rights with the child, is suspected of using drugs when in contact with the child over a weekend. The mother, who is the primary guardian, can submit changes to the custody agreement through her attorney. A court hearing will take place where the father can challenge the change. In these circumstances it is essential for the mother to present evidence and/or witnesses that can provide proof for the allegations.
For more information and or to set up a consultation with one of our child custody attorneys to assist in your custody agreement changes, contact us today.