If you are divorced and have a custody or visitation order enforced by the court, the terms may not always be to your liking. And though it is true that you must adhere to the terms outlined in the order, many people don’t know that it’s possible to request a change in those terms.

When The Two Parties Agree

If the two parents agree on a proposed change to be made, then they can change the court order by filing an agreement with the court. Though this is the simplest way, often the two parents can’t come to a mutual agreement. In that case, the parent who wants the change will have to file a request for a modification.

A Change in Circumstances

A parent has the opportunity to modify their custody or visitation order if they can show that there has been a “change of circumstance” warranting the modification. A parent cannot get a modification simply because they want to. Your argument is essentially that there has been a significant change that requires a new arrangement that would be in the best interest of the child.

Changes That Will Be Considered

Though not guaranteed, there are several established “changes of circumstances” the court will likely find legitimate.

These circumstances include:

  • When a parent needs to move because of employment or other circumstances.
  • If you can prove the other parent has put the child in a dangerous situation or environment.
  • If a parent’s religious customs and practices are putting the child at risk.
  • If the parent isn’t adhering to the existing visitation or custody order.
  • If a parent isn’t properly taking care of the child, for example, not making medical appointments, not providing adequate food or failing to take a child to school.

Changes That Probably Will Not Be Considered

Though there are other circumstances that may lead you to want to change your custody or visitation arrangement, not all reasons will be considered.

  • Though the court does take into account the preference of the child, if the child is younger than 14, then their preference will most likely not be taken into account.
  • Extreme dislike or acrimony between you and the other parent is not, by itself, a reason to change the existing order, unless you can prove the child’s welfare is at risk.
  • Disliking a parent’s new romantic partner is also, by itself, not a reason to change a custody or visitation order, unless you have evidence that it is not a healthy living environment for the child.

Essentially, any change must be first and foremost about the best interests of the child, otherwise it will not be considered.

Want to Know More About How to Change a Custody or Visitation Order?

If you want to know more about modifying an existing custody or visitation order, contact Park Family Law. Whether you need an experienced mediator to amicably and efficiently settle your case or an aggressive litigator to get you the best result in court, Park Family Law can assist you every step of the way.