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When can people modify their child custody orders?

On Behalf of | Sep 2, 2021 | Custody

When parents go through divorces in Kentucky one issue that they need to resolve as a part of their divorce is child custody and parenting time. These determinations dictate which parent will make the major legal decisions for the children or whether both parents will make those decisions together. They also determine when each parent will have the children in their care. These decisions are initially made during the divorce proceeding and could be in place for many years depending on the ages of the children at the time of the divorce.

As people know though life changes over the years. The needs of the children will change as they grow older and relationships with each parent may change. Also, the circumstances of the parents may change as well. If this occurs, the child custody and parenting time orders may no longer work as well. Parents may believe that the orders need to be changed to better reflect the needs of the children or to adapt to the changes that have occurred in the children’s or parents’ lives.

Requirements for modification

Just because they were changes though, it does not mean parents can automatically modify the orders. Before there is a modification, certain requirements must be met first. Generally, these orders cannot be modified within the first two years after they were issued or modified, but if the present circumstances are endangering the children’s mental, physical or emotional well-being they can be modified within that two-year time period.

After two years had elapsed, custody and parenting time orders can be modified if there is a change in the circumstances and the modification is in the children’s best interest. Judges will consider if parents agree to a modification; analyze the best interest factors and apply them to the current circumstances; determine whether the benefits of the change outweigh the harm caused by the change; whether the children have been integrated into the other parent’s home and other factors.

It is common for lives of both parents and children in Kentucky to change over the years. In some situations this may require a modification of the current custody and parenting time orders. These are very fact-specific matters though and consulting with experienced attorneys could be beneficial.