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Can a custody order be changed? 

On Behalf of | Nov 19, 2023 | DIVORCE - Child Custody |

One of the most contentious aspects of divorce between parents is child custody. Ideally, both parents will negotiate an agreement that satisfies the family court and the best interests of the child. In many cases, custody orders have to be litigated.

The court always prioritizes the best interests of the child and this is how a custody order will be reached. When a custody order is set, it becomes legally binding. Both p[parents must adhere to the terms or they could face legal consequences. 

With that being said, custody orders can be modified in certain circumstances. Outlined below are some of the more common reasons for custody modifications. 

The child’s safety

Divorce can be trying and one parent may struggle afterward. If a parent turns to alcohol or other substances, then it may become apparent that they are no longer able to take on so many parental responsibilities. A custody order can be changed in these circumstances to ensure the safety of the child. 

At the same time, custody orders can be modified if one parent has addressed alcohol dependency or substance issues. Further parental responsibilities may be added. Generally, the court prefers both parents to play an active role in the upbringing of their child. 


Career opportunities may require one parent to move out of state. A custody modification may be granted if a move would increase the living standard of the child. Nonetheless, the rights of the other parent will be considered and a move is only likely to be approved if the benefits for the child outweigh any detriments. 

Custody orders can also be modified if both parents come to an agreement and the best interests of the child are still met. Whatever the reason for your proposed custody order, it’s important to have legal guidance behind you so that you take the appropriate steps.