Is it possible to change a custody arrangement?

When your custody arrangement was originally set, the details of the arrangement were based on your situation, your spouse’s situation and your child’s needs at that time. However, life is always changing. Sometimes when life changes, it makes sense to change your custody arrangement too.

Although you or your spouse can seek modifications to your custody arrangement, there are some limitations. Typically, neither parent can seek modifications unless two years have passed since the current arrangement began. Even then, there must have been a significant change since then.

What might warrant modifications to a child custody agreement?

Some changes that may warrant a child custody modification include a large increase or reduction in income, the presence of abuse, or a change in living arrangements. When determining if a significant enough change has occurred, a court may consider several relevant factors, including if the custodial parent agrees to the modification and if the change may cause the child more harm than good.

A court may also consider if the child’s current living situation is dangerous to the child’s physical, mental, moral or emotional health. A court may determine this based on:

  • The child’s mental and physical health
  • Each parent’s mental and physical health
  • The child’s relationship with family members
  • A parent’s repeated failure to abide by the terms of the existing agreement
  • Any history of domestic violence

If your current custody arrangement is no longer the best fit for the circumstances, it may be appropriate to pursue a modification. Life changes all the time, and it is important to make sure your current custody arrangement helps serve your child’s best interests.