Modifying Your Child Custody Order

After a divorce is finalized and you have a child custody agreement, the arrangement is not necessarily permanent. You and your former spouse’s lives will change – as will your child’s needs – and you may have to make adjustments to the agreement. If you are interested in modifying your child custody order, you and your child’s other parent may do so by mutual agreement. But, if you either don’t want to modify the agreement and your co-parent does (or vice versa), the modification process can become somewhat complex. 

Avoiding Court

When you want to change a custody agreement, you do not necessarily have to go to court. If you and your former partner can come to an agreement about custody and visitation, you do not need a court order. You only have to ensure that the agreement modification is legally binding. An attorney can help you to make adjustments accordingly. It is important to formalize your modification process – which can be completed out of court. 

As an experienced family law lawyer – including those who practice at Robinson & Hadeed – can attest, informal modification arrangements can act as ticking timebombs. Why? If you don’t formalize your modifications with the help of a lawyer, they won’t be legally enforceable. This means that if your child’s other parent decides that they don’t want to honor the amended agreement, the judge will only uphold the original order. If you already have an informal arrangement in place, you’ll want to speak with your attorney about petitioning the court as soon as possible.

If You Can’t Avoid Court

If you want to modify your agreement and your child’s other parent isn’t being cooperative, you can petition the court to have the order modified. If you are asking for a reasonable change in the custody agreement – and your family’s circumstances or your child’s needs have evolved significantly since the last order was put in place – you have every right to petition to have it changed. You would petition the court to change the custody agreement and if your former spouse contests, you’ll have to defend your position while explaining that your modification would be in your child’s best interests. 

To help you with your custody modification, you should retain the assistance of a child custody lawyer. They can walk you through the process of petitioning the court and will advocate for you and the interests of your children. Consult with a child custody lawyer as soon as possible to learn more.