When the Virginia family courts reach a determination regarding custody in your divorce, they expect your family to adhere to the court order they issue. Some people feel trapped or unhappy about the lack of flexibility they experience after a custody order.
Others may find that the order created by the courts originally doesn’t really reflect their families. If your family or life circumstances have changed, you may be able to ask the Virginia courts to change your custody order through a custody modification.
When do parents have a right to request a custody modification?
Life circumstances can easily change quickly, meaning that the custody order from your divorce no longer accurately reflects your situation or the needs of the children.
When you need to change sooner rather than later, you can file a motion requesting a modification hearing. In order for the courts to grant a hearing and approve a modification request, you will generally need to demonstrate that there has been a material change of circumstances.
What constitutes a material change in circumstances?
People will have differing opinions about whether a change is material or less significant. Examples of a material change could include getting a new job or changing professions, completing parenting courses, undergoing counseling for substance abuse therapy and even securing a place to live where you can finally host your children for overnight stays.
One parent refusing to comply with the custody order by intentionally denying the other parent their time with the children can also be grounds for requesting a custody modification under Virginia law. If you believe your situation has changed significantly since your divorce, you may want to explore whether a modification would help you better meets the needs of your children.