After a divorce, life can change significantly, both for children and their parents. For this reason, it’s not entirely rare for one parent to seek to modify their initial child custody agreement. Importantly, however, unless a parent has sole custody, they will have to get approval either from the other parent or the court. If you’re seeking a modification to your child custody agreement, read this blog and contact the Pennsylvania child custody lawyers at Berman Voss for assistance. Here are some of the questions you may have:

What Are the Grounds to Modify a Child Custody Agreement in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, the law recognizes that changes in circumstances that affect the child’s best interests may necessitate modifications to child custody agreements.

Significant changes might include a parent’s relocation, changes in the child’s needs, or alterations in the parent’s ability to care for the child. For example, if one parent receives a job offer in another state, this could significantly impact the existing custody arrangement. Similarly, if a child develops special educational or medical needs, adjustments to the custody schedule might be necessary to accommodate these new requirements.

Additionally, changes in a parent’s lifestyle, such as remarriage or changes in work schedule, can also be considered significant.

It’s important to note that the court will always prioritize the child’s best interests when evaluating modification requests. Therefore, any change must be substantial enough to justify altering the existing arrangement.

How Do I Request a Modification to My Child Custody Agreement?

The process of modifying a child custody agreement begins with filing a petition for modification with the family court that issued the original custody order. This petition should clearly outline the significant changes in circumstances and explain why the current custody arrangement no longer serves the child’s best interests.

Once the petition is filed, the court may schedule a hearing to review the evidence and hear arguments from both parents. It’s crucial to prepare thoroughly for this hearing. Gathering evidence that supports your case is essential. This might include documentation of changes in circumstances, such as medical records, school reports, or witness testimony.

During the hearing, the court will consider various factors to determine whether a modification is warranted. These factors include the child’s needs and preferences, the stability of each parent’s home environment, and the ability of each parent to provide for the child’s physical and emotional needs. The court may also consider the child’s relationship with each parent and any history of abuse or neglect.

In some cases, the court may order a custody evaluation to provide additional insights into the child’s best interests. This evaluation typically involves interviews with the parents, the child, and other relevant parties, as well as observations of the parent-child interactions.

It’s advisable to seek legal representation when pursuing a custody modification. The family lawyers at Berman Voss are experienced in handling such matters and can provide valuable guidance and representation throughout the process. If you have further questions or require legal assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact Berman Voss today.