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How to Get a Child Custody Order Modified in Pennsylvania

17 Aug 2018, by Brandy Benefield in Family Law
Child Custody Paper and Pens

Written by Timothy Czekaj

When it comes to determining custody for your child, you want to make sure you’re doing what’s best for them. This depends on a wide array of constantly-changing factors. You want to do everything possible to ensure their well-being, and sometimes this includes altering your original custody agreement. Pennsylvania law observes a “best interests” standard when examining child custody. This means that whatever changes you and your co-parent make, they will have to be deemed by the court to be in your child’s best interests. There are two ways to legally make changes to a child custody order in Pennsylvania, both of which follow a similar structure. Your child custody lawyer will be able to help you choose which of these methods is right for you, and guide you through the process.

Success with altering your child custody agreement depends on the attorney you hire. If you need representation or guidance with any aspect of your Pennsylvania child custody order, contact Czekaj Law, LLC. Our lawyers have the understanding necessary to help you arrive at an optimal outcome. Contact us today at (717) 275-9770 to schedule a free consultation regarding your case.

Pennsylvania Evaluates All Custody Changes from the Position of the Child

Pennsylvania courts view shared custody favorably, since regular contact with both parents is generally considered better for a child than contact with only one. It will be up to you to show that your proposed custody changes will ultimately benefit your child. There are two ways you can go about altering a custody order in Pennsylvania: by mutual agreement, and by petition.

Changing a Custody Order by Mutual Agreement

Changing your custody agreement by mutual agreement requires you and your co-parent to draft a legal document assigning custody as you see fit. This means the two of you will have to agree as to how time with your child will be divided in situations such as:

  • Holidays
  • Birthdays
  • Sudden illness
  • Vacations or extended trips

Your custody attorney will assist you by negotiating with the other parent and/or the other parent’s attorney concerning the details of your proposed custody agreement. Additionally, a mediator may be of help in drafting the schedule and making sure you have addressed all the important issues. While this mediator doesn’t necessarily have to be a child custody lawyer, it’s helpful to have a mediator who understands and can explain the legal implications of your decisions. Once you and your co-parent have arrived at a schedule that you both agree on, you both sign and submit it to the court that originally handled the custody agreement you’re modifying.

Changing by Petition

The second way you can change your child custody order in Pennsylvania is through a petition. If you and your co-parent cannot agree about your custody arrangement, you can petition the court for a change. To do so, you must prepare a schedule you think is in your child’s best interests. You will also need to fill out an official petition to modify custody from with the court that initially handled your case. You must then submit both the petition and your proposed schedule, specifying why exactly these changes will benefit your child.

You May or May Not Have to Attend a Custody Hearing

If you modify your custody arrangement by mutual agreement, you will most likely not have to attend a hearing. If, however, you file a petition for modification, you’ll likely have to attend and present a case for why the proposed arrangement is in your child’s best interests. If you’re attempting to modify without your co-parent’s agreement, be prepared to call witnesses and present evidence as to why a custody change is the best decision for your child. Your attorney will help you put this case together, making sure you address all possible objections to your arrangement.

A Child Custody Lawyer Can Help You Modify Your Agreement Today

Your custody attorney is the greatest ally you have when dealing with the modification process. If you need help with modifying a Pennsylvania custody agreement, call Czekaj Law, LLC right away. We know you’re trying to do what’s best for your child, and we have the legal knowledge to make sure that your case runs smoothly. Call (717) 275-9770 , or reach out online and set up a free consultation with a Pennsylvania child custody lawyer today.