If a child custody order has already been made by a Pennsylvania family court judge, then the parents have no doubt been informed that they’re both obligated to comply with its terms. If the order was issued as part of divorce proceedings, it likely addresses important matters associated with the parents’ children. Whether it has been weeks, months or several years since the order became effective, a modification may be requested if the original terms are no longer feasible.
Modifying a court order means that the judge who issued the order changes a portion or all of it, either for a specific amount of time or permanently. In some cases, a parent’s modification request may be denied by the court. The court’s primary concern is whether the requested modification is in the children’s best interests.
Common reasons for child custody modifications
There are several reasons that might prompt a parent to seek child custody modification:
- One or the other parent is relocating.
- The parent requesting modification believes his or her children are at risk.
- A parent’s work schedule has changed, which has impeded his or her ability to be on time for custody transfers.
If the court reviews a parent’s request and determines that the suggested change would be best for the children, the judge will likely grant the requested modification.
Court’s approval is required to change a court order
Even if both parents agree that a child custody modification is needed, the terms of the existing court order remain in effect unless and until the judge overseeing the case orders a change. Willfully disregarding a court order may result in a contempt of court charge. Any Pennsylvania parent concerned about child custody issues is best served by seeking guidance from an experienced family law attorney.