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Can You Modify a Child Custody Agreement in Pennsylvania?

Published: Aug 07, 2018 in Child Custody
Child Custody Agreement Modification in Pennsylvania

Written by Anthony Piccirilli

Life does not always go the way you planned it. The fact that you have a child custody agreement is evidence of the fact that unexpected situations can arise at any point in your life. This remains true even after your custody arrangement has been executed. There are a number of reasons you may need to modify your child custody arrangement. Whatever the reason may be, if it is in the best interests of your child, Pennsylvania law offers several ways to change a custody situation.

If you’re looking to perform a child custody agreement modification, you need the skilled counsel of an experienced family attorney on your side. An experienced Pittsburgh child custody lawyer can help. If you need assistance modifying your child custody schedule, contact Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC today. Call (412) 471-5100, or reach out online to schedule a confidential consultation.

Modifying Your Custody Arrangement Through Mutual Agreement

Under Pennsylvania law, you can change your custody agreement through two methods: either through a mutual agreement or a court order. If you and your child’s other parent can agree on a change in custody, mutually updating your arrangement is likely the more convenient option. Additionally, a mutual modification generally results in less stress on the child.

Using this method to acquire a child custody agreement modification requires careful attention to detail. Be sure to decide how common sources of conflict, such as holidays and birthdays, will be handled. It is also a good idea to address how you will cope with any other unexpected issues that may arise. After you’re sure you have recorded an agreeable schedule, you and your co-parent must both sign the document and submit it to the court in which you came to your original custody arrangement.

Petitioning the Court to Modify Your Agreement

If you and your child’s other parent can’t arrive at a mutually agreed-upon change to your custody arrangement, you may petition the court for a modification. To do so, you must obtain the proper form from the same court in which your original agreement was made. After you’ve completed the correct petition to modify custody form, you must attach a copy of the changes you wish to make.

When dealing with child custody, Pennsylvania law observes a best interests standard. This means the court tries to arrive at a custody schedule that best suits the needs of your child. With this in mind, you’ll need to include an attachment with your petition, explaining why you are proposing changes, and why they are in your son or daughter’s best interests. Generally, the law requires substantial changes in order to alter custody, so it’s best to be as specific as possible.

Do I Have to Attend a Hearing to Obtain a Child Custody Agreement Modification?

You may be required to attend a hearing after you request a change to your custody arrangement. This is unlikely if you and your co-parent mutually agreed on the alteration, but if you petitioned for the modification, the judge might have questions for you. At the hearing, you will need to demonstrate why the changes you’ve proposed are in your child’s best interests. You can do this through the submission of evidence, or by calling witnesses. Securing good representation can help you achieve the best possible outcome for your son or daughter.

Call Us for Help With Your Child Custody Case Today

The ultimate goal in any child custody case is to do what’s best for the child. An experienced family lawyer can use their knowledge of the law to help you achieve a child custody agreement modification that serves the interests of everyone involved in your case. If you’re in Pennsylvania and want to change your child custody arrangement, Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC can help. We have the knowledge and experience to guide you along every step of the modification process. For a free consultation of your case, contact us (412) 471-5100 today.