When Is It Appropriate To Ask For Custody Order Modification?

Someone very wise once said that no divorce is truly final until all the children are grown. That’s important to remember because you may find yourself revisiting your current custody agreement with your ex-spouse sometime in the future.

There’s honestly no such thing as a “permanent” custody order involving underage children as long as there’s a possibility that you or your spouse can ask for modifications. Naturally, however, the court doesn’t like to change custody agreement too often or too much without a very good reason.

So, what does the court consider a “good” reason for a change in custody?

  • There’s an allegation that the circumstances of one or both parents have changed, necessitating a change in custody. For example, one parent may want to move to take a better job, even though doing so would make the existing visitation schedule impossible.
  • There are allegations that one of the parents has violated the court’s directions. For example, the parent with primary physical custody refuses to give the other parent his or her court-ordered visitation with their child.
  • There are allegations that the child is in danger. For example, you believe that your ex-spouse is using controlled substances around your child and no longer able to function as a parent.
  • The child would benefit from the change in an important way. For example, a parent may want to move with a special-needs child to an area where he or she can receive additional therapy and better education.

Ultimately, whichever party asks for the modification automatically has the burden to prove his or her case to the court. The judge’s overwhelming concern will be focused on how such a change will benefit the child — above all others.

If you believe that it’s time to challenge the custody agreement you currently have, talk to an experienced attorney about your chances of success.