Modification of Child Custody Orders
Later modifications in child custody arrangements are only considered if the child’s well-being is adversely affected.
The parent seeking a change in custody must clearly show a “change of circumstances.” Once proven, the court will look at “the best interest of the child” to determine whether a modification is appropriate. (A child who is 16-years old or older can also seek a custody modification themselves, but they have the burden of showing that a modification is in their best interests.)
Proving a “change of circumstances” may be difficult since stability for the child is viewed as paramount. However, the following situations have warranted a custody modification due to changed circumstances:
- It is shown that the child’s current environment is harmful to his or her well-being.
- The custodial parent is making a geographic move, which will disrupt the stability of the child’s life.
- The custodial parent has a significant lifestyle change, which threatens or harms the child.