Since life circumstances change, it is sometimes necessary to seek a modification to a previously issued custody order. Child custody orders can be modified as they are always supposed to reflect what is in the child's best interests. If a change is warranted in order to meet the child's needs, it is possible it will be granted.
In order to seek a modification to a child custody order, the individual requesting the change must then petition the court that issued the original order. The parent will need to be able to demonstrate to the court's satisfaction that there has been a substantial change in circumstances. In addition to the court that issued the order, parents may instead choose to file the petition in the circuit court in the jurisdiction in which either parent lives.
The substantial change must be a material one, meaning that it is an important one. It must also be one that would not have been easily predicted at the time the original order was issued.
People wanting to seek a modification of a child custody order may want to get help from a family law attorney. Demonstrating that a change to such an order is necessary may be a complicated process. An attorney may be better equipped to help gather and present the evidence needed to prove that a modification is warranted. He or she may also be able to negotiate an agreement with the other parent in an effort to reach a stipulated agreement. If a stipulation is reached, the agreement may be filed with the court, and the court will reflect it as the new child custody order. In the event an agreement cannot be reached, an attorney might help by filing the modification motion, serving the other parent with process and litigating on his or her client's behalf.