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When can you modify a child custody order?

An initial child custody dispute can be highly contentious, and the stakes are significant. The order that comes out of that disagreement can shape your child’s future and well-being for years to come, dictating with whom they’ll live, who will make important decisions on their behalf, and what visitation with the non-custodial parent will look like.

When can you modify an existing custody order?

Fortunately, though, you’re not forever locked into that custody order. Instead, you can seek a custody modification anytime there’s been a substantial change in circumstances and modifying the custody order is in the child’s best interests.

So, when can you seek a modification? That really depends on the circumstances of your case, but here are some situations that may warrant a change:

  • Exposure to parental substance abuse
  • Exposure to domestic violence
  • A change in a parent’s financial stability
  • A parent’s onset of a medical or mental health condition
  • Parental alienation or interference with visitation
  • Parental relocation

Remember, in order to secure a custody modification, you’ll have to show that the issue in question is a major shift in the circumstances that led to the initial court order, and that changing that order is in the child’s best interests. Therefore, you’ll want to be prepared to not only present evidence of the issue at hand but also how it negatively impacts your child, thus justifying a modification.

Take action to protect your child

Your child can suffer significant physical, emotional, and psychological harm if they’re in the wrong custodial arrangement. The good news is that you have the opportunity to try to prevent that from happening. That’s why if you believe a custody modification is warranted in your case, then now is the time to act.