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What is the process for modifying a custody order?

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2024 | Child Custody

A Pennsylvania custody order establishes numerous key terms for adults who have children together. Custody orders discuss the overall breakdown of parenting time between the adults and also allow for parents to share legal custody or decision-making authority.

Parents either establish custody arrangements by negotiating with one another or by going to family court, where a Pennsylvania family law judge applies state statutes to their circumstances. While parents typically do their best to comply with custody orders, sometimes they eventually determine that the current order does not really work for the family. They might then want to modify or update the custody order. There is a specific process to do so effectively.

Cooperation between co-parents

Many co-parents in Pennsylvania are able to cooperate with each other when they realize their custody arrangements don’t work well for the family. The more often parents have to make changes on the fly to their custody schedule or address issues not outlined in their parenting plan, the more likely it is that a modification is necessary. Parents can cooperate with one another at any point to set terms for an uncontested custody modification. They can submit paperwork to the courts for approval and can potentially make changes to their arrangements very quickly.

A judge’s approval

For better and for worse, co-parents do not always agree on what might be best for their families. One parent might want more time with the children, but the other may not want to diminish their parenting time to facilitate that adjustment. Any significant alteration to family circumstances might warrant a review of the existing custody order. New employment arrangements, the diagnosis of one parent with a medical issue or even changes in interpersonal relationships could justify a request to modify an existing Pennsylvania custody order.

When parents do not agree about the need for modifications or what changes are best, they may take the matter back to family court. A Pennsylvania family law judge can potentially modify a custody order when either parent presents compelling evidence that changes are necessary and would be in the best interests of the children.

Understanding what is necessary to secure a Pennsylvania custody modification may benefit a parent frustrated by a custody order that doesn’t work well for their family.