The rules for custody and custody modification seem to change if parties agree to joint physical custody. Changing custody which is not joint requires an adverse change in circumstances in the custodial parent’s household which adversely affects the children. This is a very difficult two-part standard to meet. However, where the custody is joint the standard is relaxed to allow Chancellors to make changes which are “practical.”
In Pogue v. Pogue, No. 2012–CA–01339–COA (11/26/13) the parties had agreed to joint custody with a “week on/week off” custody schedule. The mother moved out of the county and in with a boyfriend, thus making it impractical for her to take her children to school. In a custody battle between the two, the Mother lost because the proof showed she had let the children stay with the father to attend school and could not practically take the children to their school due to her living arrangements.
In a divorce agreement in 2010, the parties agreed to week on/week off custody of their children. The Court of Appeals ruled the Chancellor had the right to determine what was best for the children, “taking the parties as he found them.”