How Permanent is Permanent: Changing a Child Custody Order – Stauff & Gross Law

How do I change my permanent child custody order?


Parents meet with us regularly wanting to make changes to a permanent child custody order.  A permanent order for child custody is a misnomer because permanent orders are never in fact permanent.  The courts have the ability to modify orders that relate to children because what is in the best interest of a child can change over time.


The process to change a permanent order is different though and requires a higher standard than what is required to get the initial permanent custody order from the court.  Changing a permanent custody order is possible when the Court finds two things: (1) there has been a substantial change in circumstances; and (2) that change affects the best interest of the child(ren).  The change in circumstances and effect on the children does not have to be bad affect.


As an example, Client A has a permanent custody order that has been in place ten months, but the exchange location does not work anymore, so Client A wants to change the order.  Meanwhile, Client B wants to change the custodial schedule that would change the number of overnights each parent has with the child(ren).


If Client A wants to change the permanent custody order because there is too much traffic at the current exchange location, Client A will likely not be able to show that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred.  If Client A needs to change the exchange location because Client A has moved further away to another city, there is a better chance of showing a substantial change in circumstances.


If Client B wants to change the schedule because the amount of exchanges in a week is having a negative effect on the children’s grades, Client B needs to show what has changed and how that change is now affecting the children.


Every situation for changing a permanent child custody order is fact dependent.  It is important to consult an attorney to discuss whether your circumstances meet the standard to change a permanent child custody order.  Contact Stauff, Gross & Privette, PLLC today at 919-783-1260 for a consultation.