Whether it’s a career change, a different work schedule, or other circumstances, there are many reasons why a parent may need to modify a custody agreement, and there are several ways to amend a custody agreement in Pennsylvania. Our Lehigh Valley attorneys at Thomas, Conrad & Conrad can advise you of your rights, assist you with filing the proper paperwork with the court, and help you reach an agreement that’s beneficial for everyone involved.
Amending A Custody Arrangement By Mutual Agreement
In Pennsylvania, you can modify your child custody arrangement by mutual agreement, which means that both parents agree on any changes made. While this option is generally convenient, expedient, and less stressful for children and parents, it’s important to pay careful attention to specific details and issues that may cause conflict down the road. Even co-parents who are on great terms and dedicated to the best interests of their children can get into squabbles about birthdays, holidays, vacations, and school events.
Make sure to address these specifics in your amended custody agreement and how you’ll cope with any other unexpected issues that may arise. Having a lawyer help you hash it out can make it easier to come to a mutual agreement, keep tempers from flaring, and ensure all relevant issues are thoroughly covered in the written agreement. After you’ve reached an arrangement both parties agree upon, both parents must sign the amended document and submit it to the court where you filed your original custody agreement. Your family law attorney reviews it and makes sure everything is in order before filing it with the court.
Amending A Custody Agreement By Court Petition
If you and your co-parent are unable to reach an agreement on proposed custody amendments, you’ll have to petition the court for a modification. To file a modification, you must obtain the proper form from the court in which your original agreement was finalized. After you complete the petition to modify custody form, you must attach a copy of the changes you wish to make, why you’re proposing changes to custody or visitation, and why these revisions are in your children’s best interests.
Pennsylvania courts observe a “best interests standard,” which means that in matters surrounding child custody, the court’s decision on amending your agreement is based on what best suits the needs and interests of your children, so it’s critical to be as specific as possible. A skilled family lawyer can assist you with drafting the petition and ensure that the proper language is used and all relevant details are included.
Child Custody Modification Hearings
If you and your co-parent came to a mutual agreement on the amendments to your custody agreement, it’s unlikely that you’ll be required to attend a hearing unless the judge has specific questions. If the changes are in dispute, the court will review and hear evidence from each parent, which may include witness testimony.
Ultimately, the goal of Pennsylvania courts is to do what’s best for the child, so it’s important to present evidence and documentation that proves it will benefit the child. Your attorney can advise you on which types of evidence supports your case, help you gather it, and show the court how the modifications to your custody agreement benefit your child.
Contact A Family Law Attorney To Learn More About Amending A Custody Agreement
Our experienced child custody lawyers at Thomas, Conrad & Conrad can help you modify your custody agreement, guide you through the process every step of the way, and help you reach a resolution that works for everyone involved. Contact us online or call us today at 610-867-2900 to schedule a consultation. Our offices are conveniently located in Allentown, Stroudsburg, Bethlehem, and Topton, Pennsylvania.