There are many reasons a parent may need to modify a child custody order. Circumstances change, and children’s needs change as they grow older. It is important to understand that child custody changes cannot be made without a mutual agreement or court intervention. Even if you and your co-parent are on the same page about changing a child custody arrangement, a new order should be issued by the court to avoid potential problems. A child custody attorney can help you understand how the process works and help to ensure your children’s best interests are always a priority.
Modifying a Custody Order by Mutual Agreement
Changing a custody arrangement by mutual agreement helps parents avoid court battles and leaves decisions about parenting time in their hands. Your family law attorney can help you negotiate the specifics of your new arrangement. In addition to determining how your day-day parenting time schedules will work, you should include details about holidays, birthdays, and vacations. Once you and your co-parent have agreed, your lawyer can draft a legal document, have both of you sign it, and submit it to the court that originally issued your existing child custody order.
Reasons for Modifying Child Custody in Pennsylvania
If you need to go to court to modify a custody order, a judge will consider the best interests of the children first. Although courts may hesitate to modify an existing custody order if a child is thriving, there are situations in which changing an order is necessary. Some reasons a custody order may be modified include:
- Job schedule changes
- Relocation for work
- Illness or disability of either parent
- New living arrangements
- The child is in danger due to domestic violence, addiction, or other problems
- One parent refuses to comply with the existing custody arrangement or denies visitation to the other
Each situation is unique, and the court will carefully consider all factors to determine what is best for the children.
Obtaining a Child Custody Modification in PA
Generally, it is best to come to a mutual agreement about child custody whenever possible. It will save you time, money, and stress and help promote an amiable relationship with your co-parent. If you and your co-parent are having a hard time coming to an agreement, mediation can be an effective way to come to a resolution without going to court.
If you need to petition the court to change an existing order, you must fill out a petition to modify custody with the court that initially handled your case. You must also submit a proposed schedule, state your reasons for requesting the modification, and explain why these changes will benefit your child. A divorce lawyer or child custody attorney can help to ensure all vital information is included in your petition and advise you of any potential roadblocks that could arise. If you believe your child’s health, safety, or welfare is in immediate danger, a family law attorney can help you file a petition for emergency relief. Depending on the situation, a temporary order may be issued in just a few days or even hours.
Child custody issues can be complex and overwhelming. Our family law team includes some of the best child custody lawyers in West Chester, PA. We ensure your rights are protected and work toward the best possible outcome for you and your children.