How Hard Is It to Modify Child Custody?

Common Reasons a Judge Would Award a Child Custody Modification

When your custody order is finally put into place, it can be quite a relief. The last thing you want out of this situation is to be forced to make a change to your agreement. When it comes to family law cases, however, it is often necessary to be flexible and practice patience. When one or both parents want to change the custody order, what happens next is a modification. For example, sometimes when children get older, their needs and schedules change, which might require a modification. Other times, one of the parents has a lifestyle change, which can make a modification necessary as well.

It is common for parents to renegotiate parts of their parenting agreement every two and a half to three years. If the parents agree about the terms of the modification, the process can be much easier. If the parents do not agree on the terms, one of the parents should file papers with the court asking for a change of the existing child custody and visitation order.In order to do this, the parent will have to show the following:

  • There has been a change in circumstances since the final custody order was made. Specifically, there has been a significant change that requires a new custody and visitation arrangement in the best interest of the child or children in question.
  • The motivation behind the significant change is that it is best for the child or children and will give them secure custody arrangements with their parents. This is only applicable if it truly would be the best situation for them.

With the help of a skilled family lawyer like the ones on the team at The Clark Law Firm, the parent who wishes to change the terms of the agreement could demonstrate the instances above to the judge. Typically, if the judge finds that there is a substantial change of circumstance affecting the welfare of the child and the modification is in the best interest of the child, they will issue the modification. Other situations that make a custody modification easier to obtain include:

  • Physical relocation of one parent
  • Refusal to follow terms of custody by one parent
  • Changing of the needs of the child
  • Changing of the parents’ situations
  • Endangerment of the child is a potential threat

How Often Can a Friend of the Court Modify Child Support?

Parents can ask for a modification at any time after the original order was established, but if they file for a modification with the Friend of the Court (FOC), they must wait three years before seeking another modification with the Friend of the Court. The Friend of the Court is responsible for assisting the court with custody, parenting time, and child support issues. The FOC investigates and gives recommendations regarding custody, parenting time, child support and medical support.

This is a person who is not a party to a lawsuit and who petitions the court or is requested by the court to file a brief in the action because of a strong interest in the subject matter. They help the parents settle disputes during and after their case and holds them accountable for obeying court orders about custody, parenting time, and child support.

Every three years, the FOC can conduct a review of child support under the following circumstances:

  • There has been an Order from the Court for a child support review.
  • The necessary amount of time has passed (36 months) and there has been a written request from either the plaintiff or defendant.
  • The necessary amount of time has passed (36 months) and the recipient of support receives public assistance.
  • The FOC initiative is applicable under other specific case conditions.

As you can see, there is a variety of circumstances that would warrant a child custody modification, and there is virtually no court order that cannot be modified if the right conditions are in place. The most important aspect of the modification is that it is determined to be in the best interest of the child or children. The court will always hold the child’s best interest in highest regards, and the team at The Clark Law Firm can assist you in demonstrating that their best interest requires a modification.

If you need legal assistance requesting a child custody modification, call the family lawyers at The Clark Law Firm at (817) 435-4970 or contact us online.


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