Often, divorced parents become dissatisfied with custody arrangements that are put in place by their divorce court years after the order was entered. Whether one parent feels that the other parent is not keeping up their end of parental responsibility, or a parent who does not currently have any physical custodial rights now wants them, there are many reasons that a parent may be interested in having a custody order modified. Depending on what the specific circumstances are, however, the approach may differ from case to case.
In 1984, the Alabama Supreme Court established a rule, called the McLendon standard, by which petitions for custody modifications should be reviewed; if the original order was not one for joint custody, and the noncustodial parent seeks to modify the order, then that parent must establish that the positive good brought about by the modification must more than offset the inherently disruptive effect caused by uprooting the child. In addition, that parent seeking the change must show not only that he or she is a fit parent, but also that the change of custody materially promotes the child’s best interest and welfare.