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Divorce and Family Law

It Is Possible To Modify Existing Custody Orders

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In order to modify a custody or parenting time order, you must have either a change of circumstances or proper cause. A change of circumstance cannot be an ordinary life event or something that was anticipated in the life of a child. Common examples include a change in the needs of the child or a desire on the part of one parent to relocate.

In the case of custody modifications caused by a long-distance move, the moving party must show either proper cause or a change of circumstance, and establish that a modification of current agreement or order would be in the child’s best interest. After you prove this, you can obtain a hearing before the court — this must be the same court that granted the order in the first place.

The standard is higher in cases in which the moving party seeks to change custody rather than just the parenting time schedule. In either case, the court may recommend that the parties go to mediation, or that the friend of the court (a court-appointed liaison familiar with the details of the case) completes an evaluation to determine what would be in the best interest of your child or children.