February 13, 2018
A child custody order is a binding court judgment that is enforceable by the court’s contempt powers. If you want to modify your existing child custody order, you must request the modification and get court approval before making any changes to your custody arrangement.
If you violate the custody order—even if you think you have a good reason—you could be found in contempt of court. You must follow the proper procedures for modifying your child custody order before you can alter the terms of your custody agreement.
Modifying a Parenting Plan
First, you need to know whether you have a custody order that has been ordered by a court. Some parents create a custody agreement, but don’t file it with the court. In this case, there is no court order to modify.
You have two options if you don’t yet have a court order. First, you could ask your child’s other parent to agree to a modification in your custody agreement. If that doesn’t work, you would have to court a court order regarding your child custody arrangement. This wouldn’t actually be a modification because the court would be hearing your case for the first time.
Court-Ordered Child Custody Modifications
If you already have a consent order from the court, you will need to file for a modification. The court will only consider modifying the order if you can show a substantial change of circumstances that impacts the child.
Some of these events could be considered a substantial change in circumstances:
- One parent has relocated
- One parent is suffering from serious health problems
- One parent is suffering from drug or alcohol addiction
- The living conditions in one parent’s home have become unsafe
The important thing to remember is that the change in circumstances must be substantial and must impact the child. The court will continue to make judgments that are in the best interests of the child, so you’ll have to show how your proposed modification affects your child.
Custody modifications can be requested as long as the child remains a minor. DO NOT attempt to change a custody order without first requesting approval from the court or getting a signed agreement from your child’s other parent, or you could be found in contempt of court.
The lawyers at King Law can help you through the difficult process of separation, divorce, and child custody.We invite you to come in and talk with one of our family law attorneys during an in-person consultation. Our number is 888-748-KING (5464).