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Common signs that parents may need to modify a custody order

On Behalf of | Mar 17, 2024 | Child Custody |

Both divorced parents and those who never married may be subject to a Pennsylvania custody order. Parents either agree on certain parenting terms or litigate in family court. Judges may set terms in contested custody cases or approve terms when parents reach an amicable arrangement.

A Pennsylvania custody order outlines the obligations that parents have to their children and also what rights they can exercise while their children are minors. Although parents should do their best to comply with a custody order, sometimes they may want to go back to court to make changes to their custody order. A formal custody modification is necessary to officially change Pennsylvania custody arrangements. The following are some of the indicators that it may be time for a parent to pursue a modification.

Changes in family circumstances

The most common reason that people pursue custody modifications is a substantial change in household circumstances. Children moving from elementary school to middle school or parents transitioning to new jobs can cause massive shifts in family schedules. Changes in family dynamics, new relationships and even health issues can also alter the support parents can offer and the needs of the children in the family. If someone must pursue a litigated modification request in family court, they typically need to show a significant change in circumstances to obtain a hearing in front of a judge. Other times, they can pursue an uncontested modification by cooperating with the other parent.

Concerns about the safety of the children

Sometimes, parents struggle to adjust to shared custody arrangements and may not meet the needs of the children during their parenting time. Occasionally, someone frustrated by the demands of parenting might even become abusive. When children come home injured or without eating, the other parents may need to seek a change of custody arrangements for their protection.

Move-away scenarios

Occasionally, someone with shared custody may want to relocate to a new home. Whether they received a job offer in Virginia or started a relationship with someone who lives across the state, their decision to move could have a major impact on the custody arrangements. Parents may need to cooperate to modify a custody arrangement to allow for a relocation or may need to litigate when there is a dispute about the proposed move.

Pursuing a formal custody modification can help someone protect their children and the relationship that they share with them. Parents who understand when custody modification might be necessary can make better choices about their shared custody arrangements.