What “Change of Circumstances” Warrants a Modification?

By Jones & Associates Law P.C.

Child custody disputes can be tough on any family. Often, these disputes arise during the course of a divorce case. In other situations, the parents were never married. Family dynamics are ever-changing in America these days, and families in Pennsylvania are not immune to these situations. When a custody situation is ultimately decided by a family law court, the parents often think that the matter is over, even if they don’t agree with the decision. But, in some limited situations, a modification of a child custody order may be warranted.

The key to understanding any effort to modify a child custody order is to understand the term “change of circumstances.” This is the basic legal standard by which a family law court will be held in any request for a modification of a child custody order—and the parent requesting the change must prove that there has been or will be a sufficient change in circumstances to alter the order.

Facts May Vary

Unfortunately, pinning down what exact “changes of circumstances” are needed to show that a modification is warranted isn’t all that simple. The family dynamics are different in every case—so what needs to be proven will be different as well. It is a subjective standard, without a doubt, and facts can vary significantly.

However, things like a plan to move out of town or out of state are significant, as are new marriages, arrests and convictions, school or work situations—any and all of these may be applicable in any given situation. If you are contemplating a move to try to modify a child custody order, you need to be sure to get the best information about your own individual situation before submitting a filing to the court.