Child custody orders are not set in stone, but the court has strict requirements for modifying a court-ordered parenting plan.
If you plan to petition for a change in custody, you should understand state standards.
Significant changes in circumstances requirement
The parent seeking the change must prove that a substantial shift in circumstances requires a modification of custody. The court reviews every custody modification request on a case-by-case basis, considering the evidence presented and how the change will impact the child.
Possible reasons to modify a parenting plan
A common reason for the modification of custody is relocation. Changes in work schedules or a substantial loss of income may also result in a need to modify parenting plans. Other potential reasons include:
- Changes in the physical or mental health of one parent
- Changes in the child’s healthcare needs
- Either parent faces incarceration or a domestic violence charge
- A parent does not follow the original custody order
You can negotiate with the other parent before filing a petition for modification. Agreeing on the changes can speed up the modification process, but the judge will need to validate it through a court order.
Protecting the child’s best interests
Modifying a custody order must serve the child’s best interests. The court has significant discretion when determining whether the change benefits the child’s well-being.
An effective and efficient way to approach a custody modification request is to present the court with a negotiated agreement. When that is not possible, having evidence to prove the change will benefit your child is crucial.