Changes to Child Custody Arrangements
A modification to an existing custody order may be required due to something as simple as a change in the work schedule of one of the parties that makes current arrangements unworkable. A modification may also be required in more extreme circumstances, such as getting a child out of the home of a parent who has become involved in excessive drinking, drug use or other behavior that may put the child in danger. Further, the changes that require modification may not be in the lives of the parents. Changes in the child's circumstances often require adjustments to a custody order. Perhaps the child has reached a certain age and is requesting different arrangements, or education or medical requirements make a change necessary.
Finally, a modification to an existing custody is almost always required when the primary custodial parent desires to move with the child outside the jurisdiction of the Court. While the ultimate decision regarding relocation will be based on the best interests of the child involved, there is a three prong frame work which courts use to assist them in making that determination: 1.) what are the potential advantages of the move to the relocating party, 2.) do the parties have integrity of motive in either seeking or opposing the move, 3.) is there available, alternative realistic substitute custody. We have been involved in these relocation cases repeatedly over the years and can counsel our clients with respect to successful strategies and likely outcomes as a result.
At the law firm of May, Metzger & Zimmerman, L.L.P., we have been handling these matters in Lancaster County since 1929. You can be confident in our ability to help seek a positive change to your custody arrangement, or to prevent proposed changes that you believe would not be in the best interest of your child.
Petitions to Modify Child Custody
After a petition to modify custody is filed, the first step will be the same as when custody arrangements were originally established. There will be a custody conference at the Lancaster County courthouse. Our attorneys will prepare you for and attend this conference with you, making certain all of the necessary information to support your position is presented testing the reasonableness of the other party's position. If agreements seem within reach, the conference officer may recommend trying a specific arrangement for a trial period. If the arrangement is not successful, re-conference may be necessary. As a last resort, a child custody hearing may be necessary if an agreement cannot be reached.
Contact Us Today About Your Child Custody Modification Case
To discuss your case with one of our experienced Pennsylvania family law attorneys, contact us today at 717-536-4044 or 877-692-7081 (toll free).