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When Custody Modifications Are A Good Idea

by | Jan 11, 2018 | blog

A period of time after the initial divorce settlement, it’s a good idea to revisit the custody agreement to see if there’s a need for modifications to the plan. In Pennsylvania law, there are 16 best interest factors that act as a guideline for acceptable initial custody agreements as well as modifications. The factors break down into a few categories. Successful modifications keep these deliberation factors in mind:

Parental Caregiver Availability

  • Which parent may provide more emotional, physical educational, developmental and special needs support for the child
  • Which parent more likely provides for their child’s emotional needs
  • Which parent arranges child care or is available for child care
  • Who provides more parenting duties

Continued Familial Connections

  • Who will more likely facilitate contact with the other parent
  • Who makes extended family contact more available
  • Who promotes connection with siblings

Negative Factors

  • Past or present abuse by a parent
  • Conflict level between parents
  • Drug or alcohol abuse history of a parent
  • Mental status or physical condition that would impact a child’s care
  • Prior or current attempts to make the child dislike the other parent

Logistics And Preference

  • The proximity of the ex-spouses’ residences
  • For older children, their living arrangement preference

The factor list includes a catch-all aspect at the end to include “any other relevant factors.”

If the modification supports the ongoing emotional and physical care of the child at its highest level, it is better positioned for success. Life changes such as change of residence, a child becoming an adolescent or teen and parental job adjustments all are potential reasons for custody modification.