Susan Rossi Cook, Attorney and Mediator

How to modify a child custody arrangement

Needing a child custody modification can be a significant concern for divorced parents. As a result, knowing when a child custody modification may be granted, and under what circumstances and in what situation, is important. In general, in Massachusetts, a child custody order may be modified if it is no longer in the best interests of the child or if there has been a significant change in circumstances for the parents or child.

When considering a child custody modification, the family law court will be deferential to what is in the best interest of the child with a focus on the well being of the child and ensuring that is achieved and maintained. The court will consider a child custody modification if the child is in danger or if a parent has died. The family law court will also evaluate requests for parental relocation and the impact it will have on a child custody arrangement based on a number of factors. If one parent does not follow the child custody arrangement, the family law court may also evaluate a child custody modification.

A parenting plan is essential for any divorced parents sharing a child. When a child custody modification is needed, parents can first begin by discussing it themselves to determine if they can reach an agreement concerning the modification themselves. The mediation process may be able to help. If they are unable to agree, the family law court can help them with a child custody modification that is based on the best interests of the child.

Child custody considerations are of utmost concern for parents which is why the family law system provides a variety of resources to help families through the process of establishing custody or modifying custody. Familiarity with these resources can only help families when they need to modify a child custody arrangement.

Source: The Spruce, "5 Reasons to Request Child Custody Modification," Debrina Washington, March 11, 2018

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Susan Rossi Cook, Attorney and Mediator

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