“Effective April 10, 2023, we are pleased to welcome Attorney Carol Weinstein Boileau Esq. , as Of Counsel to the Firm.”

3 times Massachusetts parents may need to modify custody orders

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2024 | Child Custody |

A Massachusetts custody order is enforceable by the courts. Either parent could potentially take the other to court over a violation of a formalized custody order.

Parents typically do their best to abide by the terms set in Massachusetts custody orders. They communicate with one another about major decisions and follow the schedule established for the family to the best of their abilities. Failing to do so could lead to enforcement efforts.

Occasionally, one of the parents may want to take a matter to family court so that an existing order can potentially be modified in ways that their co-parent doesn’t approve of. A modification serves as a formal change to a custody order. (Modifications that are mutually agreed upon can simply be formalized by the court at any time.) When are modifications potentially necessary?

After school or work changes

The schedules of the family often have a major influence on the custody terms that the parents or the courts set. If the children move to a different school, such as transitioning from elementary school to middle school, that may create a completely different family schedule. Similarly, if either parent accepts a new job, that can cause massive scheduling adjustments. New educational or employment pursuits may be significant enough changes to warrant custody modification hearings.

After a change in family relationships

Maybe one parent just remarried, but their new spouse has a history of domestic violence. Perhaps a parent previously struggling to relate to their children has stepped up and improved the relationship now that they have a shared custody order. Both negative and positive adjustments in family relationships can lead to a change in what might be best for the children. The courts can alter the parenting schedule or division of decision-making authority when the relationships among various family members change after the divorce.

After a parent effectively addresses personal challenges

Uneven custody arrangements that limit one parent’s access or authority are often the result of difficult personal situations. Maybe someone doesn’t have a place to live or needs help addressing a substance abuse disorder. When a parent has made significant improvements in their circumstances, that may warrant a custody modification. The courts may agree that giving them more time with the children would be in their best interest.

Sometimes, parents can cooperate with each other to agree upon uncontested modifications. Other times, they may go back to court to litigate because they disagree about the need to modify the order or about what changes would be best for the children. Either way, learning about the custody modification process can help parents advocate for their children. Adults who modify custody orders as necessary can help to ensure that their parenting arrangements reflect what is best for their kids.