When things change, you can modify your child custody order.

On Behalf of The Law Offices of Ronda A. Middleton |

If it has been some time since your child custody order was created, your child’s life may look very different. You or your spouse may have changed jobs or moved to a new home, and these changes can make it difficult to continue your previous agreement. Your child may have entered school or started new extracurricular activities. If these significant life changes make your current child custody agreement impractical, it may be time to modify your custody order.

What happens if you agree on a change?

If you and the other parent agree on a custody solution, you can go through a relatively simple process to adjust your agreement.

  1. Fill out court forms.
  2. Sign the Stipulation and Order for Custody and/or Visitation of Children form.
  3. Work with an attorney or family law facilitator to review your forms.
  4. Make copies of the forms for each parent’s records.
  5. Get the judge’s signature on your forms.
  6. File your forms.

You and your child’s other parent should revisit your agreement every few years to ensure that it still suits your child’s needs.

Can you request a change when you do not agree?

When you cannot agree on a new child custody agreement and need court intervention or mediation, you must complete a specific process to modify your child custody agreement.

  1. Fill out the Request for Order form and optional Child Custody and Visitation Application Attachment.
  2. Work with an attorney or family law facilitator to review your forms.
  3. Make one copy of each form to submit to the court and other copies for you and the other parent to keep for your records.
  4. File a copy of the form with the county clerk and pay the necessary filing fee.
  5. Obtain a court date or mediation date.
  6. Serve the court papers.
  7. File a Proof of Service form.
  8. Attend mediation or a court hearing.

Some local courts require parents to go through mediation before the court will address their case. Your county clerk or your attorney could help you determine whether this applies to your county.

Whether you can reach an agreement or require mediation or court involvement, modifying a child custody order can help you meet your child’s needs and protect their interests.

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