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Changing a child custody order

On Behalf of | May 29, 2024 | Child Custody & Support |

Even after a divorce is over and a child custody order is in place, it does not necessarily mean everything is set in stone. Modifying a child custody order is possible and sometimes necessary.

When the parents agree, child custody modifications are fairly straightforward, but some cases lead to a legal dispute. The custodial parent might not want to change the agreement. The non-custodial parent might want custody. From the outset, parents should understand the law for this potentially complex situation.

Modifying a custody agreement

The main factor in determining child custody is the best interests of the child. That entails the child having a safe living environment, health care, appropriate clothing, a good education and extracurricular activities.

When a parent requests to modify the agreement, at least two years must have passed from when the original order was put in effect. There are times when the two-year requirement can be superseded. However, that can only happen if there are affidavits saying that the child would be in danger if they were to stay in the current situation or the custodial parent has left the child with a de facto custodian.

If the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act is used, the court will only modify the agreement if there have been factual changes from when the previous decree was made. The court will assess the custodial parent’s position on the modification and if they agree to it; if the child has become part of the family of the person petitioning for custody; the best interests of the child; if they are in jeopardy of harm in the current environment; and the possibility of a de facto custodian taking care of the child.

Reasons to request the medication can vary. Some are due to serious concerns like a parent being abusive or neglectful; being involved in criminal activity; or facing addiction. Others are simply due to changes in the child’s needs.

Both parents should be protected during a custody case

Child custody disagreements do not end when the initial determination is made. Even after the case is technically over, a parent could request a child custody modification. Both sides need to have a firm basis to present their side of the story to reach a positive outcome. Whether they are on relatively good terms or they are engaged in a contentious disagreement, understanding the law for changing an order requires preparation and advice with help from those who have local roots in the area.