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Modifying your child custody order

For many parents, the custody order that makes sense in the middle of a divorce or the order that a court hands down simply does not work for one or both of them as each party makes its way into raising a child separately. In some cases, however, it is possible to modify an existing custody order, depending on the reasons for the modification and the position of each parent on it.

If both parents agree to a modification of the custody order, many courts will agree to make that change to the order. The primary difficulty in these instances is agreeing on terms and dealing with the time and expense required to successfully petition a court.

However, in many cases, parents do not agree on how a custody order should change, or if it should change at all. If only one parent wishes to modify the order, or if both parents want to modify different aspects of it, then things may prove more complicated.

In general, a court prefers to see some specific change in the circumstances of one parent or the other before it approves a modification to a custody order. An example would be if a parent moved away or changed lifestyles in a way that affects the child. A change may have to do with the child's needs and changes that the child experienced over time. A court may also modify a custody order based on the behavior of one or both parents, such as one parent having a criminal conviction or abusing the other parent or the child.

If you need a modification to your custody order, don't be afraid to consult with an experienced family law attorney who understands how to assess your needs and priorities. With professional legal counsel, you can understand the legal options you have available and begin working towards the modification that fits your family.

Source: FindLaw, "How to Modify a Custody Order," accessed Dec. 29, 2017

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