Life circumstances change all the time. As nothing can stay the same forever, including families, Pennsylvania family courts allow parents to modify child custody orders when their current orders no longer fit their current life circumstances.
However, something significant must have changed for the court to grant a modification. Additionally, a new order would only be issued if it is found that the change is in the child’s best interests.
When a change is necessary
Parents may file a petition to modify a child custody or visitation order in Pennsylvania when one or both parents feel like the current arrangement no longer works for the family or benefits the child.
If the other parent does not agree with your request, you must take your case to court. However, you must know that the courts in Pennsylvania will only grant a custody modification if circumstances have changed significantly since the first order was issued. Some valid reasons could be:
- If you or your ex want to relocate with the child
- If you have to change the visitation schedule because of a job or educational opportunity
- If you want to increase or decrease visitation
- If your ex started drinking or abusing another substance
- If your circumstances have improved significantly since the order was created
If one of these circumstances apply, it does not mean that the court accept the modification automatically. After all, they make the decision based on the child’s best interests, not yours.
You must prove to the court that the decision to change the order would benefit your child, their development and their relationships if you want the petition to be successful.
What’s best for your child?
You shouldn’t keep a custody order that is no longer viable or is impossible to follow. You can seek a modification of the order if your circumstances have changed for the better or worse. If your ex doesn’t agree with the modification, you can take your case to court. With the right arguments, you have the opportunity to prove that a change in custody will be beneficial to your child.