Can I Modify My Child Custody Order? 

February 7, 2022 in Uncategorized | MARTIN WREN, P.C. | LEAVE A COMMENT

You may wonder what a court will consider in making a determination of child custody. Many clients seek out help from lawyers wondering if it is possible to change a custody order currently in effect. In many jurisdictions, custody orders can be modified upon a showing of changed circumstances. What might a judge consider to be “changed circumstances.” Case law shows that judges have recognized the following as potential grounds for a new custody arrangement: 

  1. A change in the fitness of a parent 
  2. Interference with non-custodial parent’s contact or visitation 
  3. Birth of an illegitimate child to mother 
  4. Change in parent’s physical or emotional condition
  5. Change in child’s physical or emotional condition 
  6. Parent’s remarriage 
  7. Parent’s unmarried cohabitation with another 
  8. Change in child’s preference 
  9. Parents’ lack of communication 
  10. Relocation of parent 
  11. Change in availability because of change in job or career 

Seeking Out the Assistance of a Lawyer 

In addition, judges may consider the amount of time that has passed since the custody order was entered and any other factor he or she finds relevant. Do some brainstorming and meet with a local family law attorney to discuss the specifics of your situation. 

Law firms, like Garrett, Walker, Aycoth & Olson, Attorneys at Law, have several child custody lawyers who are looking into these issues to help clients. Several years ago, a survey was conducted of district court judges who hear custody cases. They found the following topics relevant to consider in making a determination as to what custody arrangement is in the best interest of the child. This list doesn’t include every possible topic, but it is a good list to start thinking about prior to meeting with your attorney. At a minimum, make sure to bring these things to your divorce attorney’s attention. 

Factors That May Be Considered in a Case

There are many different things that may be considered in a child custody case. Here are some of many factors that can make an impact on yours:

  1. Significance of past history of physical assaults
  2. Exposing the child to sexually explicit printed or pictorial materials
  3. Illegal drug us by either party
  4. Exposure of this child to sexually explicit TV programs or movies
  5. Negative Documents by one parent about the other parent in the presence of the child
  6. Parent’s cooperation in allowing physical access to the child for visitation
  7. Significance of a parent resisting the involvement of the other parent in the parenting of children
  8. Parent’s cooperation in allowing telephone access to child
  9. Parent involving a child in the custody process, i.e., reviewing custody complaint or other parts of the legal process with the child
  10. Parent making comments in the presence of or to a child concerning the payment or nonpayment of child support or providing other forms of support
  11. Having expert testimony on psychiatric disorders of the parents
  12. Outbursts
  13. Criminal record of either parent
  14. Past history of a parent’s involvement in school/education
  15. Significance of a parent whether voluntarily providing support or failing to voluntarily provide support
  16. Past history of parent’s involvement in school/extracurricular activities
  17. Having expert testimony on personality disorders of the parents
  18. Methods of discipline used
  19. Significance of either parent having an overnight companion while having responsibility for a child
  20. Having a forensic custody evaluation available
  21. Testimony from other adults who are active in caring for the child, such as grandparents, stepparents, girlfriend and boyfriend
  22. Attendance by a parent at Parent Education Classes
  23. Employment records of either parent
  24. Significance of grandparent involvement with grandchildren
  25. Flexibility of parent’s work schedule
  26. Exposure of the child to violent TV programs or movies
  27. Significance of allegation of sexual abuse unsupported by collateral sources, i.e., physicians, nurses, therapists, etc.
  28. Significance of a parent presenting a daily plan for a child
  29. Driving record of either parent
  30. Introduction by a parent of their new companion to the child prior to divorce
  31. Alcohol consumption by either party
  32. Religious training for the child
  33. Introduction of their new companion to the child after divorce

Never try to handle a child custody case on your own. This is far too important to not have an experienced lawyer on your side. 

Contact Our Virginia Lawyers

We serve clients throughout Virginia — from Charlottesville and Central Virginia to metropolitan Richmond; Harrisonburg and the Shenandoah Valley to Roanoke; and the cities of Hampton Roads to the Northern Virginia cities of  Fairfax, Alexandria and Arlington.

To speak with one of our attorneys, please call us at (434) 817-3100.

Our Virginia personal injury lawyers at MartinWren, P.C. have a statewide practice and offer free consultations at a time and location that is convenient for you.  We will gladly meet with you at your home or at the hospital, even on nights and weekends.


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