How to Modify a Child Custody Order

Changing circumstances may lead parents to decide to modify their child custody order. This post explores how to change a child custody order. This post only covers basic, general information regarding this topic.  For specific advice tailored to your circumstances, you should consult a Utah custody attorney.

Change of Custody by Stipulation

Sometimes, parents find themselves in a custody routine that differs from the custody order. It is usually a good idea for the parents to get that new routine included in the court order. Other times, the parents find themselves in a situation where they both agree that custody must change. If both parents agree or stipulate, the court will typically allow the parents to update the order. This update will also typically lead to an update on the child support order.

Change of Custody by Litigation

Many parents are unwilling to agree to have less custody. This can be true even if they do not regularly exercise all their custody rights. In such cases, the parent wishing to modify custody must convince a judge to change custody.

To convince a judge to change custody, the judge must believe two things:

First, the judge must believe that circumstances have changed since the previous custody order. Changes of circumstance must be significant and must be relevant to custody. (Though, if the previous custody order was based on a settlement, there is more leeway.) Additionally, changes must typically involve the parent who is to have less custody. For example, you might argue that a parent can no longer take care of the child. Or, that the parent no longer does care for the child or exercise custody. You will need to back these arguments with strong evidence.

Second, the judge must be convinced that the proposed change is in the child’s best interests. There are a number of factors judges consider. However, the focus will often be on the reason the parent wants to change custody.

Obtaining Advice Specific to Your Case

At Christensen Law, the attorneys are Utah custody lawyers in Salt Lake City, serving the Wasatch front and beyond. We can give you advice about your circumstances and help with your case.