Revisiting Custody And Parenting Plans
The initial child custody determination is rarely the last word. As circumstances change, it may be necessary to modify the terms of custody or the details of the parenting schedule. These changes can be mutually agreed or vehemently opposed.
At Lavery Law, we advocate for clients and their children in custody modification proceedings. Based in Harrisburg, we practice in the family courts of Dauphin County, Cumberland County, Perry County and Lebanon County, and surrounding jurisdictions of central Pennsylvania.
Custody Modifications As Circumstances And Family Dynamics Change
The court where the original custody order was issued can modify the order when there is a substantial change in circumstances. We have handled all types of modification actions:
- Altering the parenting plan — overnights, pickup/drop-off, holidays, vacation, etc.
- Shared custody or visitation modification
- Reversing primary custody — an older child going to live with the other parent
- Petitions for sole custody — abuse, neglect, drug use, domestic violence or other threats to the child’s welfare
- Parent relocation — moving out of the area or out of state with the children
If you are in agreement, we can rewrite the custody agreement and present it to the court for approval. If the proposed change is contested, we can represent you in court in a modification hearing to argue for or against the petition.
Harrisburg Parental Relocation Attorneys
The parent who is seeking to move must establish certain elements of proof, beginning with proof that relocation serves the best interests of the child. The court will evaluate the motives for moving, such as employment opportunities or extended family versus relocating for vindictive reasons or a new partner. A key consideration is the impact on the relationship between the child and the parent left behind, and the extent to which the relocating parent will accommodate (or hinder) that relationship.
Even if the parent is allowed to move, the custody agreement and parenting schedule will have to be redrafted to reflect the new realities. For example, the noncustodial parent may get increased visitation during holidays, school breaks and summer vacation, and the relocating parent may be expected to subsidize the other parent’s travel costs.
Our experienced family law and custody lawyers advocate for parents dealing with these issues, focusing on what is best for the child and practical for our client.