The terms included in a Pennsylvania custody order can affect everything from someone’s daily schedule to their holiday plans. Custody orders create a specific division of parenting time and parental responsibilities. The adults sharing custody typically need to do their best to abide by the established custody order.
If someone fails to follow the custody order, they might face enforcement actions brought by their co-parent. Therefore, if someone believes that a custody order no longer works well for their family, they may need to make official changes or modifications to the order.
Doing so requires either a written agreement or going back to court. When is a custody order modification potentially an option for a parent in Pennsylvania?
When there have been substantial changes
Typically, a parent requesting a custody modification would need clear documentation of a significant change in their family circumstances. For example, someone getting a new job or remarrying could be a change that justifies reworking custody arrangements.
Sometimes, both adults in the family recognize that a change to the custody arrangements could benefit the children. Adults can potentially cooperate to obtain uncontested modifications when they agree about how to adjust an existing custody order. If they do not agree, then it may be necessary to go back to court.
The parent proposing the modification typically needs not only evidence of a substantial change in circumstances but also that the changes they propose would be in the best interests of their children.
When the children are not safe
Sometimes, a parent needs to take immediate action because their children are in a volatile situation. Discovering that the other parent has neglected or abused the children could be a viable reason to take action and seek a custody modification.
Parents seeking modifications may need to document what has occurred during the other adult’s parenting time to convince the courts that reducing or even eliminating their time with the children would be in their best interests.
Those who are uncertain about whether their situation meets the necessary standards for a modification or not may want to discuss their case with someone familiar with Pennsylvania family statutes. Obtaining a custody modification can make it easier for adults to share parental responsibilities despite their changing circumstances.