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How to modify a child custody arrangement

When two spouses divorce, one of the most contentious parts of the divorce involves child custody. Hopefully, in your case, you and your spouse can reach an amicable solution that suits everyone’s needs. However, situations change over time. One or both of you may want to alter the agreement in the future.

When deciding upon the initial agreement, there are numerous factors a judge will consider. In Virginia, some of these factors include the mental and physical condition of the child, the mental and physical condition of both parents and the role each parent wants to play in the child’s future. When one or both of you want a child custody modification, you must ultimately prove that this change is in the best interest of your child.

File a motion to amend the agreement

You will need to file a motion with the court first. You will need to present pertinent information within these forms, such as the date of the initial court order, the reason you want this amendment and what your proposed change is. Once the court receives all this information, it will go to your former spouse. Upon agreement, the two of you can set a court date.

Have an attorney review the motion

It is possible to fill out and submit a motion on your own, but you will be much better off having a lawyer review it. This will ensure you use the right language and that your request is clear. An attorney also helps ensure you have a legitimate reason for wanting to alter the custody agreement. You do not want to waste the court’s time. Penalties may be on the line if you submitted the request for a frivolous reason. A material change in circumstance needs to be present for this modification to work. 

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