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Is It Possible to Modify a Child Custody Order in PA After It Has Been Established?

Many parents in Pennsylvania who are facing child custody orders wonder if it’s possible to modify an established order. Understanding the legal process and grounds for modification is essential for people who are navigating a child custody case. Knowing this, along with the legal requirements, court procedures, and the role of legal representation throughout the process can help parents understand their rights.

If you are facing a child custody modification case in Pennsylvania, reach out to the team at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello for legal representation and guidance to get positive results for your child.

Legal Grounds for Modifying a Child Custody Order in PA

The court typically only modifies child custody orders in PA under the following legal grounds:

  1. When there is a significant change in circumstances
  2. The child’s best interests

What Constitutes a Significant Change?

A significant change in circumstances refers to any substantial shift in the living conditions, environment, or setup that can influence the child’s welfare. This change must be of such magnitude that it warrants the court to reconsider the already established custody order.

Qualifying changes can take various forms, including:

  • A parent’s relocation
  • A marked shift in a parent’s lifestyle that might negatively impact the child’s wellbeing
  • The parent’s recurring disregard for the existing custody order
  • A parent’s illness makes them incapable of adequately caring for the child

Other instances could include changes in the child’s needs or preferences due to their age and maturity.

The Child’s Best Interests

While modifying a child custody order in PA, the court’s prime concern remains the child’s best interests. The court examines many factors to determine this, including:

  • The emotional ties between the parents and the child
  • The capacity of each parent to provide a loving home and meet the child’s emotional and material needs
  • The child’s adjustment to their home, school, and community

Change, even when it’s in the child’s best interest, can sometimes be disruptive. Therefore, the court assesses the potential impact on the child if a modification is made. This could encompass the child’s emotional well-being, educational disruption, or the impact on their relationship with siblings and other close family members. The court aims to ensure that the benefits of the modification outweigh any potential adverse impacts.

Filing a Petition for Modification

If you want to modify a child custody order in PA, you need to file a petition for modification with the court. This involves submitting the required documentation to officially request a change to the custody order.

This documentation may include court forms detailing the proposed changes, proof of a significant change in circumstances, and evidence supporting the claim that the proposed modification would be in the child’s best interest. The type of evidence necessary can vary widely, depending on the specifics of your case. It could include everything from financial records and medical reports to witness testimonies.

The Role of Legal Representation

Legal representation plays an important role during this process. An experienced family lawyer can help prepare your petition, ensuring all documents are correctly filled out and filed on time. They can also guide you in gathering the necessary evidence to support your request for modification.

After your petition is filed, the court will review it and make a decision. This process can take time and involves several steps.

First, you must serve the other parent with a copy of the petition. They then have the opportunity to respond to your request and present their own evidence. There may be several hearings before a final decision is made.

The Expected Timelines for Court Review

The timeline for the court review can vary, but in most cases, a decision is made within several months of filing the petition. However, some cases can take longer – particularly if they are complex or if one party disputes the proposed modifications.

Court Considerations and Decisions

The court considers many factors when deciding whether to modify a child custody order in PA.

The court will closely examine the parenting capabilities of each parent, including their ability to meet the child’s physical, emotional, and educational needs. They will also consider each parent’s willingness to foster a positive relationship between the child and the other parent, the stability of each parent’s home environment, and any history of domestic violence or substance abuse.

They will also take into account the child’s physical and emotional health, as well as the child’s own wishes if he or she is of an age and maturity level to express a credible preference.

The court may decide to approve the modification, deny it, or propose an alternative solution. The implications of these outcomes can be significant for both parties – affecting everything from living arrangements to visitation schedules.

Trust Deborah M. Truscello With Your Child Custody Case

Understanding the legal process involved in modifying a child custody order in PA is crucial for parents seeking changes to established orders. Legal representation is vital in ensuring compliance with all legal requirements, preparing the necessary documents, and advocating for your interests. The Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello offers experienced family law representation and can guide you through every step of this process.

Contact Deborah M. Truscello if you need help with a custody modification. Visit our website or call (610) 892-4940 for professional guidance.

Contact the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello

To discuss your case in a free, confidential consultation with attorney Deborah M. Truscello, Esq., call or fill out the form below. 

From our office located in Media, PA we serve the surrounding areas of

  • Bucks County
  • Chester County
  • Delaware County
  • Montgomery County
  • Philadelphia County
Including but not limited to
  • Allentown
  • Lancaster
  • Reading
  • West Chester

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For Personal Injury, Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability cases, we have a contingency fee based on a percentage of what we obtain for you. We will not charge you any fee unless and until we settle your case, prevent the loss of your benefits or obtain benefits for you. 

For Family Law clients, we understand that financial difficulties often accompany divorce and other family law issues. Ask us about our reasonable and competitive hourly rates for your situation. 

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