Phone : 610-674-1554

5 legitimate reasons to request child custody modification

On Behalf of | Mar 21, 2024 | Parenting plans

If you’re a parent who has navigated a divorce in Pennsylvania, it may have taken quite some time for you and your children to come to terms with it and to adapt to a new lifestyle. If you’re like most families, you no doubt experienced both good days and some not-so-good ones as you processed your emotions and set goals for the future. As time passes, you might determine that the terms of the child custody agreement you signed are no longer feasible or are not serving your children’s best interests.

When this happens, state law provides recourse by allowing you to seek child custody modification. To do so, you must file a petition in a court that has jurisdiction in your case. A judge will review your request and render a decision. Be prepared to come before the judge to show just cause, which means that you must provide a legitimate reason for asking the court to change an existing custody order.

Judges often grant child custody modification for these reasons

A judge may act at the court’s discretion to make decisions regarding child custody issues. Every case is unique, and the judge overseeing your case will consider it by its own merits. The following list includes several examples of reasons that demonstrate just cause for requesting child custody modification:

  • The other parent has died or become incapacitated or incarcerated.
  • You’ve determined that your children are at risk when the other parent is with them.
  • You have accepted a job in another state and want to relocate with your children.
  • Your ex keeps disregarding the terms of the existing custody order.
  • At least one of the children is experiencing academic, emotional or mental problems that stem from the stress of traveling back and forth between two households.

Each of these issues demonstrates just cause for seeking custody modification. If your reason isn’t in this list, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not legitimate. There are many other reasons why a judge might grant a concerned parent’s request for modification.

The court has children’s best interests in mind when making custody decisions

The central focus of all Pennsylvania child custody proceedings is the children’s best interests. As a parent, you know what is best for your kids, but you must be prepared to convince the court as well when you ask a judge to modify a child custody order.

Such situations can be complex and stressful, especially if your ex opposes the changes you’re requesting. For example, if you have evidence that the other parent has a substance abuse problem or is neglecting your children, you might request sole custody, which might make your ex angry. It’s best to seek legal guidance before petitioning the court to increase the chances of obtaining a favorable outcome.

Practice Areas

Family Law

Discover More

Estate Planning & Administration

Discover More

Tax Representation & Litigation

Discover More