Custody agreements are always made in the child’s best interests, so it is natural that modifications or changes to the custody agreement will need to be made as life moves forward after a divorce. In Pennsylvania, you and the other parent can alter your child custody agreement while still in the child’s best interests.
There are many different reasons why a custody agreement needs to be changed, and they generally involve unexpected life events, such as:
- Either parent has become seriously ill.
- Either parent needs to relocate because of work or other reasons.
- The child needs to change schools.
- The child needs new adjustments because they have gotten older.
- Either parent loses a job or gains more income.
Although a mutual agreement sounds simple and less stressful, it is essential to have a lawyer involved. A lawyer can ensure everything is considered before you sign the changed agreement because changing one thing will likely affect other arrangements.
Furthermore, since a lawyer has experience dealing with previously married couples, they may make it easier for both parties to reach a mutual agreement. A lawyer can help keep the discussion civil while ensuring that all the necessary issues are addressed and put into writing so the proper documents can be appropriately filed with the court.
If you and the other parent cannot agree, petitioning the court that initially made your custody arrangement is usually your next option. You do this by filing a petition to modify the custody form and filing it with the court. Remember that your lawyer can still negotiate between you and the other party before the matter reaches court.
With a lawyer’s help, any of your proposed changes will likely need specific details with clear reasons explaining why your amendments will benefit the child.
The factors that the court looks into that help determine the child’s best interest include:
- The child’s relationship with both parents and siblings.
- The preferences of the child, if of appropriate age.
- A parent’s ability to provide proper childcare.
- Cooperation of each parent in the child’s needs.
- The stability of the child.
- Any present and past abuse committed by any member of the household.
- What change will likely maintain a healthy and stable relationship for the child’s emotional needs.
- The mental and physical condition of the child.
How Do I Change a Custody Agreement if I Move Out of State?
Even if the life event that requires the custody agreement to change is because you have moved out of state, you still have to go to court. Although difficult to do, you can ask the judge to change the jurisdiction of the case to the state you live in now. If the other parent disagrees with this, the matter can get complicated, and you will likely need the help of a lawyer.
In most cases, if you want to move your child out of the state, you must ask the court to do so. This will almost require the help of a lawyer.
Chester County Divorce Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Advocate for Parents Needing to Change Child Custody Arrangements
If you need to modify your custody agreement, contact our Chester County divorce lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. Call us at 610-565-3701 or fill out our online form for an initial consultation. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients in Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.