Modifying Child Custody Orders
Generally, when such an agreement is made, it is amidst a highly emotional separation of the two parents of the child, such as in a divorce. This can lead to decisions unfavorable to your child and the family as a whole being made in the heat of the moment.
Even when an agreement is reached amicably, or at least calmly and logically, situations change and custody considerations arise that either didn’t exist at the time of the Pennsylvania custody order or weren’t addressed.
If you are concerned that the best interests of your child and your rights as a parent are being slighted and wish to legally modify a custody order or resist custody order modification, an experienced attorney can be a significant asset in achieving a resolution.
Child Custody Modification Lawyer in West Chester PA
Situations can grow complicated if disagreements between the parents occur. If you are facing or seeking a custody order modification in Chester County or the surrounding areas, including Philadelphia, Plymouth Meeting, Radnor, Kennett Square, Malvern, Springfield, and King of Prussia, contact the compassionate and experienced family law attorneys at Ciccarelli Law Offices.
Whether you are seeking to or working against legally modifying custody orders in Chester County or the surrounding areas, the family lawyers of Ciccarelli Law Offices will work with you as a team to determine and work towards the outcome you and your family consider best. To find out what Ciccarelli Law Offices can do for your custody order modification case, call (610) 692-8700 or send an online message for a free consultation so we can act as soon as possible. We are based in West Chester PA and serve clients throughout Chester County, Lancaster County and suburban Philadelphia including West Chester, Kennett Square, Oxford, Avondale, Landenberg, West Grove, Paoli, Malvern, Downingtown, Coatesville, Exton, Parkesburg, Berwyn and Devon. We have convenient meeting locations in Lancaster, Philadelphia, Plymouth Meeting, Kennett Square, Malvern, Springfield, King of Prussia, and Radnor. Our family lawyers serve those with immediate legal needs in Chester County, Montgomery County, Delaware County and Lancaster County.
The Process of Modifying Child Custody Decisions
The parents of a child may modify their custody arrangement at any time on their own, changes will not be legally binding. When circumstances arise that make it necessary for a custody order modification to be legally binding, the actual order on file must be legally changed. According to 231 Pa. Code Rule 1915.125, this is initiated by one of the parents filing a petition to modify custody orders with the court.
The petitioner will be required to explain in his or her petition why the existing custody order should be modified and how it is in the best interest of the child or children involved. Keep in mind, the determination of the court on the modification is based on the best interest of the child, just as it was in the initial custody proceedings.
The court will determine what is in the best interest of the child in modifying its decision according to specific factors listed in 23 Pa. C.S. § 5328, including, but not limited to:
- Weighted consideration of the child’s safety
- Any present or past abuse by either parent, or person living in either parent’s house
- The parental duties performed by each parent on behalf of the child
- Availability of other familial contact, such as with siblings and grandparents
- Child’s need for stability and capacity for handling change
- Proximity of each parent’s residence to the other
- Any attempts by one parent to bias the child against the other parent
- History of drug or alcohol abuse by either parent, or person living in either parent’s house
- Mental and physical condition of either parent, or person living in either parent’s house
Depending on the circumstances, the court may require you and/or the child’s other parent to submit parenting plans, even if a plan was submitted during the initial custody hearing. Modifying legal custody orders in Pennsylvania is a complicated and often emotionally-sensitive matter. The services of a skilled and compassionate Chester County family law attorney are highly recommended.
Using a Pennsylvania Attorney for Child Custody Decision Modifications
If you are seeking to change your agreement or prevent your arrangement from being altered, contact us today. Our law firm proudly serves Chester County, Lancaster County, Montgomery County, and Delaware County. Call the experienced and compassionate West Chester family lawyers of Ciccarelli Law Offices. They will combine their forces with your expectations and pursue a custody agreement that is ideal for your family. Your first consultation is free, so call (610) 692-8700 today and schedule yours.