In Massachusetts, the court always considers the best interests of the child while making any custody decisions, especially if the parents don’t seem to see eye to eye.
Issues such as who will make the decisions regarding the upbringing of the child, who will the child stay with (primarily), and what will be the visitation schedule, etc., are resolved in a temporary court judgment or court order, depending on the circumstances of the case.
However, this court order is far from the last word; it is not set in stone, and can be changed if the situation calls for it. If one of you or both of you (you and your ex-spouse) are dissatisfied with a previously made court judgment regarding the custody of your child, you can request a modification.
The exact procedure of requesting a court order modification depends on whether one party is seeking it or both parties want the change. For example, if only you want the modification, then you must serve your ex-spouse a notice of the scheduled hearing date.
This step can be as complicated as any other legal matter and you should consider hiring an expert Massachusetts family attorney like Jay Davis to help you navigate the process. As part of changing the original court order, you will be required to file the appropriate pleadings, follow court procedures, and present your case. Doing this on your own is allowed, but not recommended if you don’t have any legal expertise.
Jay Davis and his team of tenacious legal consultants at Davis Law Group have assisted thousands of divorced parents in complicated custody cases since 1998. Jay understands how stressful and emotional divorce and child custody cases can be; you don’t have to go it alone.
So, make sure you work with a family lawyer like Jay who knows and understands the Massachusetts laws like the back of their hand so you get the best possible outcome in court!
Want to change your previously arranged court order in MA? Don’t hedge your bets – call us at 617-221-3548 or write to us here for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Have the Original Circumstances Changed?
If one or both parents are unhappy with the terms of the previous custody order, they can ask for an amendment or modification. If both of you want the change, you can petition the court together. If only one of you wants it, there will be a contested proceeding before the judge.
According to the Massachusetts laws, a court can only change a child custody order if two conditions are met: there has been a significant change in the circumstances of both the parties or the proposed modification is in the best interest of the child.
So, what kind of changes are considered significant? Here are a few examples:
- One parent frequently interferes with the child custodial rights of the other parent
- One parent has relocated to another state or country, making the original joint custodial arrangement impractical
- The current home environment of the child is a danger to their health and safety
- The current custody schedule hinders with the child’s education or extracurricular activities
- One parent has fallen victim to alcohol or drug addiction, and thus, is no longer able to provide proper care for the child
Where Should You File a Petition for Modification?
If one or both parents have moved since the previous custody order, it can be a bit challenging to file for a modification. Generally speaking, here are some basic rules to keep in mind:
- If both you and your ex-spouse currently live in the same county in Massachusetts, you should file petition in that county only
- If one of you lives outside of Massachusetts, the petition should be filed in the child’s home state; the home state is the state where the child lived for the 6 months preceding the modification request
- If both of you still live in Massachusetts, but moved to different counties, you should file petition in the county where your divorce case was heard
- If you are not in agreement with your ex-spouse over the custody modification or if you simply are not on amicable terms with each other, it’s crucial for you to hire a Massachusetts family law attorney who will look out for your interests
In addition to advising you on the specifics of how to handle a modification to child custody, Jay Davis can also help you negotiate a voluntary change with the other parent so you don’t get embroiled in a difficult and lengthy court battle. Call us at 617-221-3548 or contact us online to know more about how Jay can help you.
Make Sure You Talk to Your Ex Before Serving Them a Modification Notice
If you and your ex-spouse are on cordial terms with each other, then you will naturally want to discuss the idea of changing the custodial arrangements before filing a petition. After all, it is only polite.
But what if you two are not on good terms? It may seem tempting to serve them the court papers but it can also turn your already strained relationship into something even more tumultuous. Instead, consider speaking with them about whether or not you two can reach an agreement together regarding the custody arrangement.
However, there are certain situations where it might not be a good idea to talk to the other parent without the assistance of an attorney. For example, you may be afraid that they might take an unexpected action, like leaving the state or country with your child.
Get a Quick Child Custody Modification in Massachusetts with Davis Law Group!
“Highly recommend Jay Davis! Have known him for years as nothing but a great guy. Unfortunately, had to call him last minute for some guidance and he was nothing but very helpful, supportive and diligent with my case. Never need to look further for any future legal matters I may encounter.” — Michael McDonough
If you are looking to proceed with a custody modification order in Massachusetts, it might be best to hire an MA family attorney, like Jay, who knows the law as well as the outcomes of past verdicts. Thanks to his over 21 years of experience in MA family law, Jay knows how to help you get the best possible outcome.
Divorce, child custody, and alimony cases can be nerve-racking. Your emotions are bound to take charge in more ways than one, and you also have other people to worry about, especially your children. With Jay on your side, you will be freed up to use your emotional energy on getting through the process as effortlessly as possible.
Call Jay today at 617-221-3548 or request a free consultation. Jay Davis is an experienced and dedicated family law attorney in Massachusetts who will make sure the judge sees your side.
James H. (Jay) Davis III
Thank you for reading. Need to talk? 617-221-3548