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4 reasons a judge will modify an existing child custody order

On Behalf of | Dec 9, 2022 | Child Custody

When a court rules on child custody, it does so based on the children’s best interests. However, new developments can lead the court to modify its earlier custody orders and issue new directives. 

When either parent petitions the court to modify custody orders, a judge will review the prevailing situation before giving further direction. Such a petition is likely to be successful if there has been a substantial change in circumstances that affect the children’s welfare and a modification is what’s best for them. Some of the reasons are listed below.

1. Violation of the current custody orders

If your co-parent is constantly violating the existing custody orders, it could be a reason for the court to modify the present custody arrangement. For instance, they could be preventing you from accessing the children, yet you share physical custody. When this happens, the court may issue new custody orders to fix that.

2. A change in the parent’s situation

Drastic changes in a parent’s physical, financial or mental stability could lead to a custody modification. For example, if a parent starts abusing drugs, shows violent tendencies or is incarcerated, the court will have no choice but to protect the children’s wellbeing. Sometimes, this involves changing the current custody arrangement.

3. The child’s needs have changed

If the child’s needs have considerably changed since the court issued the present custody orders, it could justify a modification. Such changes may arise from the child’s age, health, education and environment, among other needs.

4. Relocation with the children

While it is a contentious issue among many co-parents, relocation cannot be the sole basis for modifying custody orders. However, some changes may be necessary if it is difficult or impossible to proceed with the existing custody arrangement after relocating.

Are you looking to modify your custody orders?

As a parent, you may wish to have your custody orders modified for various reasons, from protecting the children’s wellbeing to securing your place in their lives. However, it is advisable to reach out for help on what you need to do. Modification petitions are not so straightforward, and you must present a strong argument for a desirable outcome.