When can a custody order be changed

After a child custody order is issued by a court in Delaware, a family might undergo changes that mean the order no longer works for their current situation. Because of this, the state allows people to file requests to modify child custody orders. However, certain requirements must be met before a court will agree to a modification, including the passage of a sufficient amount of time. Here are some reasons when a court might agree to modify a custody order.

Original order issued by the court

If your original custody order was issued by the court after a child custody hearing, you must generally wait for at least two years before filing a motion to modify custody. The court will only modify court-ordered child custody arrangements when less than two years have passed if failing to modify it would cause significant harm to the child’s physical or emotional well-being. If more than two years have passed, the court will only modify custody if doing so is in the child’s best interests after considering the benefits vs. the harms of changing the order and how well each parent complied with the previous order.

Modifying a consent order

If the original child custody order was reached through a consent agreement between you and your child’s other parent, you can request a modification of the order at any time. However, the modification must be in the child’s best interests. The modification request must be filed in the court with original jurisdiction unless that court agrees to waive jurisdiction.

Modifications of child custody orders are commonly requested. A family’s circumstances might change as children grow and parents progress in their careers, making adjustments necessary. Parents who agree to modify child custody orders can draft agreements and file them with the court to secure a modification. When one parent disagrees with the modification request, however, it might need to be resolved through litigation or an alternative dispute resolution process.