How to Modify a Custody Order

Custody arrangements may cease to work out for parents and children for a variety of reasons, including a parent’s job loss, relocation and changes in the children’s needs. When you have a post-divorce custody or visitation order made by a Connecticut court, you may still be able to change it. When simple visitation issues are involved, such as a change in drop-off and pick-up times, day care, holidays or split parenting time, one way to alter your custody arrangement is to negotiate with the other parent. The Family Services or Relations office in your court may also help you achieve a workable solution. But when neither of these solutions work, or when a parent needs to relocate, it is time to seek a change in custody from the court.

To seek a custody modification, you must first fill out the appropriate forms to file with the court clerk:

  • Motion for Modification
  • Affidavit re Children
  • Financial Affidavit

You may also fill out a Fee Waiver Application if you cannot afford court fees and an Appearance form if you choose not to have an attorney. Once you file these forms, the court clerk sets a date for your hearing. You must have a marshal deliver a copy of your motion to the other parent as notice of the request for a modification.

During your court hearing, if you cannot work out an agreement with the other parent, you must prove that there is a valid reason to change the Connecticut court’s prior custody or visitation order. This is done by showing your case meets these requirements:

  • There is a substantial change in circumstances since the original order was made
  • It is in the best interests of the children to change the order

Having a skilled custody lawyer on your side is wise when seeking a custody modification, especially when you have a valid reason for relocating or face the loss of valuable time spent with your children because the other parent wishes to relocate.